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No turning back as Woods puts baby first



Tiger Woods has declined to pledge his certain attendance in the major championships due to be staged at Carnoustie in July and Southern Hills in August as he looks forward with his wife Elin to the birth of a first child.

As the winner of 12 majors, the Open and the US PGA are important dates in Tiger Woods's professional life. Not as significant, however, as the private milestone of becoming a father.

Speaking at the US PGA's media day, the world No1 again made it clear that personal considerations would take precedence over golf this summer. While Tiger Woods expectsto be busy competing in the later part of the season, it's uncertain how often he'll tee up after next week's US Open at Oakmont.

"Well, it's going to be interesting towards the end of the year," he said in a teleconference. "It's going to be a lot of golf. I'm pacing myself already just because of the fact that I have a baby coming up.

"I don't know how much I'm going to play after that or how much I'm going to play before that. A lot of that is depending on what happens and the health of Elin and our child. But the end of the year is going to be a very busy test for a lot of the players on Tour."

Having already indicated that family matters will take precedence if there's a clash with Carnoustie, Tiger Woods was pressed on how often he'll play in July and August.

"I don't know, I really don't know," he replied. "As I say, that all depends on how Elin is feeling and the health of our child."

Even his presence at Southern Hills - the PGA Championship runs from 9-12 August - isn't guaranteed. Asked if he would defend that title no matter what, Tiger said: "Well, I hope so."

Tiger Woods has also assured the Royal and Ancient, the organisers of the Open, that he will play at Carnoustie if he can. With the chance to become the first golfer since Peter Thomson more than half a century ago to win three consecutive Open titles, Tiger will not be lightly deterred.

"He's going for his third consecutive championship and you don't get that happening very often," observed Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the R&A, earlier this year.

"If he doesn't come, then it would be bound to affect things. But I know he'll be there if he possibly can. Family, though, comes first and we quite understand that. Although I haven't spoken directly to Tiger, I've spoken to his management people and know he's intent on being at Carnoustie."

On the other hand, if the birth of the child coincides with Open week from 19-22 July, then Tiger Woods will be with Elin in Florida rather than challenging for the Claret Jug in Angus. "If it happens, it happens. If it crosses over, it crosses over," he said in January.

"That's the most important thing, not another golf tournament. I just wouldn't go. If she's going to have it during the week of the Open, I just don't go."

When prompted, tongue-in-cheek, by Julius Mason of the PGA if he'd like to tell everyone the due date of the baby, the sex and the name, the notoriously guarded Tiger Woods, who should at least be able to participate at Oakmont, grinned: "I don't know any of those things, so your guess is as good as mine."

Read more at http://sport.scotsman.com

 

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