Tiger to face new cast of rivals
Luckily, I dont play football, Woods said Monday.
Woods said his knee will probably be no more than 85 percent strong when he returns, but he sees no reason why he cant get back to the level of play that brought him nine victories in 12 official events this year, no finish worse than a tie for fifth.
One week after winning the U.S. Open in a 19-hole playoff at Torrey Pines, Woods had surgery to rebuild the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. If the healing process runs its normal course, he said he will not be able to swing a club until January at the earliest.
The healing process for an ACL is six months, Woods said during a video conference to announce the 16-man field for his Chevron World Challenge in December. No matter what I try to do, I cant speed up that process. That puts me into January. Unfortunately, I cant rotate, I cant practice on that leg until then.
I believe the stat is after six months, the ACL is 85 percent in strength, and then over the next year-and-a-half, it will gain its 100 percent strength, he said. So its basically a two-year process.
Woods said his goal was getting his body healthy for 2009 to compete at a high level.
He said his nine months of competition, from an eight-shot victory in the Bridgestone Invitational through his playoff victory at the U.S. Open for his 14th career major, was the best stretch of his career.
I think I played better in this stretch than I have at any time in my career, said Woods, whose 65 career PGA Tour victories trail only Jack Nicklaus (73) and Sam Snead (82). I may have won more major championships, but I certainly have never been in contention in as many events, or won as many events in a row. I had a pretty good run.
In the only three tournaments he didnt win between August 2007 and June 2008, Woods finished two shots behind Phil Mickelson at the Deutsche Bank Championship; two shots behind Geoff Ogilvy at Doral; and three shots behind Trevor Immelman at the Masters.
But he could face a fresh challenge when he returns.
Over the last five months, Anthony Kim has emerged as golfs brightest young prospect with victories in the Wachovia Championship and AT&T National at Congressional, along with a starring role in the U.S. victory at the Ryder Cup.
Nobody is going to knock Tiger off anywhere, Kim said last week at the Tour Championship. Hes staying there until somebody starts giving him more a challenge on a week-to-week basis, and thats my goal. This gives me an opportunity to know what I need to work on for next year to be ready when he comes back.
And Id love to give him more of a challenge than I did before.
Kim missed the playoff by one shot at the Tour Championship, which Camilo Villegas won for his second straight victory.
The 23-year-old Kim began the year at No. 75 in the world, and now is at No. 6. Villegas, a 26-year-old from Colombia, rose to No. 7 with his victory at East Lake.
Both will be part of the Chevron World Challenge, to be played Dec. 18-21 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where the defending champion ' Woods ' will be reduced to his other role as tournament host.
Also in the field are eight other Ryder Cup players ' Steve Stricker, Kenny Perry, Jim Furyk, Justin Leonard, Hunter Mahan and Boo Weekley of the United States; and double major winner Padraig Harrington and Paul Casey of Europe.
Mahan, the only player to go all five matches at the Ryder Cup without a loss, was a sponsors exemption along with Weekley, Casey and Fred Couples, next years U.S. captain for the Presidents Cup.
Rounding out the field are FedEx Cup champion Vijay Singh, K.J. Choi, Stephen Ames, Mike Weir and Luke Donald, who has missed the last three months with a wrist injury.
With so much success by younger players, is Woods eager to return?
Yes and no, he said. Because as of right now, I couldnt beat anyone. I cant swing a club yet. So theres really no sense in me getting too excited and too fired up, and going out there and embarrassing myself right now. Maybe I could take them on in a putt-putt contest.
He is curious what he could have done without knee surgery.
Woods won four of his six starts on the PGA Tour, and he kept his lead on the money list until Singh won the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston on Labor Day.
I missed the two major championships. I missed the entire playoffs, Woods said. It was frustrating in a sense because I was having a pretty good year to that point when I decided to shut it down for the rest of the year. It would have been nice to see what I could have done for the rest of the year.
Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.
Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.
''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''
They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.
''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''
Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.
''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''
Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.
Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.
Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.