SYDNEY, March 3 AAP - Journeyman golfer Dan Olsen has apologised and retracted an unsubstantiated claim that Tiger Woods was serving a drug suspension from the US PGA Tour.
Olsen, who played in 35 tour events between 1989 and 2011, sparked a storm when he made the claim in a radio interview in the US last Friday.
It came as former world No.1 Woods takes time away from the tour to work on his game after struggling badly for form since his return from back surgery.
Olsen said he'd "heard he's on a month's suspension. It's kind of a strong witness. It's a credible person who is telling me this."
"It's not testosterone, but it's something else."
The PGA Tour refuted the claim.
"There is no truth whatsoever to these claims. We categorically deny these allegations," Ty Votaw, executive vice president of the PGA Tour, said in a statement.
Woods' manager Mark Steinberg also slammed Olsen's suggestion.
"These claims are absolutely, unequivocally and completely false," Steinberg said in a statement.
"They are unsourced, unverified and completely ridiculous."
Olsen has now backtracked completely.
"Everything I said on that radio interview was only my opinion and not based on any firsthand knowledge or facts," Olsen told ESPN.com.
A statement was posted on the radio station's website in which Olsen said: "I want to make a full retraction to everything I said for the entire radio interview, and I apologise to Tiger...(commissioner) Tim Finchem and the PGA Tour."
If Woods failed a test for performance-enhancing drugs, the PGA Tour has said it is required to announce a suspension. The ban would also be for more than a month.
If Woods failed a test for a recreational substance, the tour's policy is not to disclose any penalties.
Woods has not played since he withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open at the start of February, less than a week after firing a career-worst round of 82 at the Phoenix Open.