Potomac - Tiger Woods won't be hosting this week's PGA National
tournament as he continues treatment to manage medications following an
impaired driving arrest, and players on Wednesday praised his commitment to
"It's really cool to see what he's doing in terms of
he's handling what he's dealing with and he's taking it seriously," said
12th-ranked Justin Thomas, part of Sunday's final US Open pairing two weeks
"As someone who looks up to him and as a friend, I
think that's more impressive than coming here."
Former world number one Woods, a 14-time major champion
whose charity foundation stages the National, was arrested May 29 near his
Florida home for impaired driving.
A breathalyser test showed no sign of alcohol but police
video showed Woods struggling to answer questions and he said later he did not
realize how prescription drugs he was taking might interact.
Last week, Woods said he had sought help to handle the
medications he uses to ease back pain and sleep issues.
"I'm currently receiving professional help to manage my
medications and the ways that I deal with back pain and a sleep disorder,"
World number 17 Patrick Reed, who played under assistant
captain Woods on last year's triumphant US Ryder Cup squad, said everyone
should understand Woods's absence.
"Tiger's here in spirit, you know. It's his
event," Reed said. "It's never going to hurt the golf tournament or
hurt any event to have his name a part of it. Means a lot because of how much
he means to golf.
"It's one of those things. We all would love for him to
be here, but at the end of the day, for him to put his foot down and go ahead
and take care of himself and try to get better, that's more important than
playing golf or being here."
Woods made a comeback from back surgery last December in the
Bahamas but has played only twice this year, missing the cut at Torrey Pines
and withdrawing from the European Tour's Dubai Desert Classic in February.
In April, Woods announced he had undergone his fourth back
operation since 2014 to ease back and leg pain and would miss the remainder of
the season, including the National.
"He cares a lot about this tournament," Thomas
said. "It's his tournament and he wants to be here, but he's worried about
what's going to be best for him, best for his family. He wants to get back on
track and I think it speaks a lot to him (that) he's taking it very seriously.
"We all want him back out. So he's just trying to do
the necessary steps for him to be out here as fast as he can."
Woods, whose 79 career PGA Tour wins are three shy of Sam
Snead's all-time record, has not won a major title since the 2008 US Open and
has not won any event since the 2013 World Golf Championships Bridgestone
"We all wish him the best and we want him out here,
every one of us," Reed said. "The more he can take care of himself,
(the more likely) then we're going to get the old Tiger back."