By Larry Fine
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Tiger Woods said on Monday he had received treatments for injuries from a Canadian doctor under investigation for smuggling performance-enhancing drugs but insisted he had never taken illegal drugs.
Woods, facing a packed news conference before he tees off in the Masters on Thursday, said U.S. investigators had contacted his IMG agent, Mark Steinberg, about his connection with Dr Tony Galea and that he would cooperate with them.
Galea, who treats athletes with a plasma therapy called "blood-spinning" to aid the healing process, faces drug-related charges in Canada and a U.S. grand jury probe into smuggling drugs, including human growth hormone.
"He did come to my house," Woods added about Galea. "He never gave me HGH or any PEDs. I've never taken that my entire life. I've never taken any illegal drug, ever, for that matter."
Woods said officials had not yet asked to interview him.
The legal, blood-spinning technique involves drawing blood, spinning it in a centrifuge and returning it into a patient.
Woods said he used the technique to overcome knee and Achilles' injuries and get back on the golf course in 2008 and in 2009.
"I had PRP, platelet enriched plasma treatments," said world number one Woods, who has been absent from golf since last November after a series of revelations about his string of extra-marital affairs.
Woods said he played last year taped up for support and also went to hyperbaric chambers after his PRP injections to further speed his healing process.
Federal agents have interviewed several other prominent athletes treated by Galea, including New York Mets players Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes and have expressed interest in talking to New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez.
"He's worked with so many athletes," explained Woods. "There's a certain comfort level to that when a person has worked with athletes."
(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by John Mehaffey)