Tiger Woods took a page out of Phil Mickelson’s playbook and blamed his absence from this week’s HSBC Champions tournament on fatigue.
The title sponsor of the $7 million PGA/European Tour event blasted Woods and his “Duel at Jinsha Lake” playmate Rory McIlroy for skipping the fun at Shenzhen’s Mission Hills Golf Club in southern China’s Guangdong province, saying “a World Golf Championship event ... requires the best players to be here.”
Woods, who reportedly left Monday’s one-on-one duel with McIlroy to tend to his own corporate sponsorship business, said he was sapped after losing by a stroke to McIlroy in another part of China.
"I was tired and doing these things are easy,” Woods said about a putting clinic he staged for school kids in Singapore, according to Reuters. “Competing and getting ready for another golf tournament, I just didn't want to do that.”
Woods said he would tee it up at his own World Challenge contest in December and then hang up his spikes for the season.
"I've got four more rounds at my tournament in LA and I'm done until Abu Dhabi next year, so I'm looking forward to having this extended break,” he told Reuters. “This is my offseason now, and I'm really looking forward to getting away from it.
"Competing and playing golf tournaments after a long schedule, the playoffs, the Ryder Cup and a lot of other tournaments, it's been a while," Woods explained about why he needed a blow after a jam-packed season of injury-free golf -- his first since 2005.
Mickelson, meanwhile, was tied for second with Masters champ Bubba Watson and two others in the HSBC event, which features seven of the world’s top 10 players even without Nos. 1 and 2 stalking the fairways. Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott topped the star-studded leaderboard after each fired a seven-under 65.
Lefty, who matched his lowest round at the HSBC with a bogey-free 66 and missed no fairways on Thursday, cited mental fatigue as his reason for bowing out of Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament earlier this year. Coincidentally, the 42-year-old southpaw made like Woods and participated in a sponsor’s outing the Monday after his WD.