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Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Johnny Miller defends Tiger Woods

Associated Press

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- This time, Johnny Miller came to Tiger Woods' defense.

At least he tried.

Miller, the two-time major champion and NBC Sports analyst who has been critical of Woods over the years, said on a conference call Wednesday that he wouldn't rule Woods out at The Players Championship because of his iron play.

His comments followed more blistering comments from the Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee.

"I'm going to take the positive spin here," Miller said. "I really believe that if he has a good first round and plays a little bit like did at the British Open and sort of deals down and hits a long of stingers and just gets the ball in play ... he hasn't lost his iron game. Nobody gives him that credit. He still is a good iron player. It's just that other things aren't working out quite as well."

Woods has not finished better than eighth at the TPC Sawgrass since winning here 10 years ago.

"The bottom line is that he could be a factor," Miller said. "Of all the places ... this is the unlikely one, but this course is unpredictable, so you never know."

Chamblee said there was a "really good chance" Woods will be gone before Sunday. Woods is playing for the first time since the Masters, skipping last week because of a minor injury to his left knee and Achilles.

"It's very likely that he's going to re-injure himself playing this course and maybe just hobble out here," Chamblee said. "It's kind of sad. We watched Tiger age so rapidly before our eyes and maybe right before our eyes we'll watch Tiger Woods play where he's literally shuffling off the course."