Phelps helping Woods with managing pain medicines

NEW YORK • Tiger Woods, who will be an assistant captain for the United States at this week's Presidents Cup in New Jersey, has not competed since withdrawing from a European Tour event in Dubai after a first-round 77.

But that has not kept golf's former world No. 1 from engaging in some friendly competition.

He said on Friday in a post on his website that he has hosted putting contests at his house with fellow PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas and world No. 7 Rickie Fowler.

However, the 41-year-old revealed he is not hitting full shots and has no timetable for his return to competitive golf after undergoing his fourth back surgery in April.

Woods said he is sleeping better and no longer has nerve pain going down his leg.

"I'm starting to hit the ball a little further - 60-yard shots. I have not taken a full swing since my back fusion surgery last April, but continue to chip and putt every day," the 14-time Major champion said.

"I'm working out six days a week, alternating between the treadmill, bike riding, swimming and lifting twice a day. My muscle tone is coming back, but I'm not in golf shape yet. That's going to take time."

Woods has also been receiving help from American swimming champion Michael Phelps on how to manage pain medications, according to a report in the New York Times.

The golfer was arrested in May on suspicion of driving under the influence and a toxicology report showed he had five different drugs in his system, including pain and sleep medications.

Phelps, who was very publicly arrested for DUI in 2004 and 2014, contacted Woods through a mutual friend, the Golf Channel analyst Notah Begay III, who was Woods' teammate at Stanford.

Begay said Phelps was almost uniquely qualified to support Woods.

He added: "Michael can provide honest and direct feedback, and that's what athletes of their calibre need the most."

Describing their conversations as "on and off", Phelps said he took cues from Woods on how much they would discuss.

"It's better now," the former swimmer said, "because I feel like there's more of a comfort level."

He called Woods' arrest "a massive scream for help".

REUTERS, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 24, 2017, with the headline 'Phelps helping Woods with managing pain medicines'. Print Edition | Subscribe