Tiger Woods says there is "zero connection" between the neck pain that forced him to withdraw from The Players Championship and his Nov. 27 car accident.

Woods said during a news conference Monday that his neck started bothering him two weeks before the Masters, his first competition in five months. He brushed it off as "no big deal" until it kept getting worse.

"I'm at a point now where I just can't go anymore," he said. "I want to practice, I want to play, I want to compete, but this is not allowing me to do the things that I need to do on my golf swing to hit the proper shots. I need to get to where I can do that again."

In November, Woods was briefly hospitalized after he crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and a tree outside his home, resulting in a sore neck and a cut lip.

Woods withdrew from The Players Championship on Sunday after six holes.

LPGA golfer, 25, dies

LPGA golfer Erica Blasberg, 25, died Sunday in a Las Vegas suburb according to police and her agent. It was not immediately clear whether foul play was involved.

Blasberg played her only LPGA Tour event this year two weeks ago in Mexico and tied for 44th.


U.S. falls to Denmark in OT

The United States was upset by Denmark at the hockey world championships Monday in Cologne, Germany, beaten 2-1 for its second consecutive overtime loss.

The Americans lost by the same score to Germany and must defeat Finland in the last group game to reach the next round. Denmark advanced with the victory.

"Certainly it's not where we want to be," U.S. coach Scott Gordon said. "We are just not generating enough offense. We are just making too many turnovers and that isn't allowing us to set up our forechecking."


Cushing 'issue' causes revote

Houston Texans owner Robert McNair said he knew during the 2009 season that linebacker Brian Cushing had "an issue" with the NFL, but had no details from the league of what it concerned. Cushing was suspended by the league last week for violating its steroid policy.

Cushing was voted The Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year at the end of the season. As a result of the penalty and admission, the AP is taking a revote for the defensive rookie award plus All-Pro outside linebacker. Cushing received five votes in that category and made the second team. He is still among the nominees in the revote.


Tennis: Serena Williams saved a match point before beating Vera Dushevina of Russia 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5) Monday in the longest match of her career to reach the third round of the Madrid Masters.

College football: Dylan Steigers died of a head injury suffered during Eastern Oregon's spring football game, school officials said. Steigers, 21, took a blow to the head late in Saturday's scrimmage, and died Sunday at a Boise hospital, spokesman Tim Seydel said.

Bowling: Twelve-year-old Kamron Doyle of Brentwood, Tenn., became the youngest bowler to earn money at a PBA event, finishing 30th in the Canton (Ga.) Open Regional tournament Sunday. He received $400 that will be deposited into a scholarship account.