Tiger Woods Im now ready to play again

By Associated PressFebruary 19, 2009, 5:00 pm
Eight months after winning the U.S. Open on one good leg, a healthy Tiger Woods is returning to golf.
 
Woods said on his Web site Thursday that he will defend his title next week in the Accenture Match Play Championship, believing his reconstructed left knee and his game are good enough to win.
 
Im now ready to play again, Woods said.
 
The Match Play Championship in Tucson, Ariz., begins Wednesday.
 
Players whom Woods has beaten so often while compiling 65 victories were happy to hear he was coming back.
 
He was ready to go weeks ago, Stuart Appleby said at Riviera. I dont think he needs to do a couple of laps around the track. Hell be on that horse and hell be whipping it.
 
The timing for Woods to end his 253-day break from competition could not be better for the PGA Tour, which has seen television ratings plunge after the worlds No. 1 player had to miss the second half of the season, including two majors, the Ryder Cup and the FedEx Cup playoffs.
 
We are delighted that Tiger is returning to competition and look forward to watching him compete next week, commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.
 
The last shot Woods hit for real was a short par putt on the 91st hole of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, where he defeated Rocco Mediate in a playoff to capture his 14th major, which Woods described as probably the best ever under the circumstances.
 
He had surgery after the Masters last year to repair cartilage damage in his left knee, and suffered a double stress fracture in his left leg while preparing for his return.
 
He limped badly over the final few days of the U.S. Open, later saying the swelling was so bad at night that he couldnt see his knee cap. A week after winning, he had reconstructive surgery, the third operation on his left knee in five years.
 
What to expect?
 
Hes human, swing coach Hank Haney said. He has played one tournament in 10 months. I would think he would be a little rusty, but I really dont know what to expect. Nothing with Tiger ever surprises me.
 
Woods began hitting short irons toward the end of December, and friends such as Mark OMeara and John Cook said he had been playing plenty of golf over the last few weeks at his home course in Florida.
 
The last big obstacle to his return was the birth of his son, Charlie Axel, on Feb. 8.
 
Elin and our new son Charlie are doing great, Woods wrote. Ive enjoyed my time at home with the family and appreciate everyones support and kind wishes.
 
Woods will be under even greater scrutiny when he returns at Match Play, a tournament that is unpredictable even with two good legs. The eight-month break is his longest ever, and there are questions of rust and whether he had to modify his swing after surgery.
 
Haney said the swing hasnt changed, but there might be one difference.
 
Hes working on the same stuff that hes always been working on, but hell be able to do it with a strong leg now, Haney said. It will be a little different in the finish because his knee doesnt give way.
 
Woods is a three-time winner of the Accenture Match Play Championship, but no tournament is more unpredictable. Even on two good legs, Woods once lost in the first round to unheralded Peter OMalley of Australia.
 
His return could last only one day. He could also advance to the weekend, where Woods might face as many as 36 holes a day.
 
I didnt think he would return at Match Play because the media would be all over him if he lost in the first round, Appleby said. But if Tiger lost in the first round, it would mean nothing to him. Hell be looking for competitive rounds.
 
Woods also has an endorsement contract with Accenture, and he was to be in Marana, Ariz., next week for a corporate dinner.
 
Kenny Perry believes expectations will be minimal ' Woods first tournament in eight months, and the fickle nature of match play.
 
I think its awesome, Perry said. The economy is down. We need something to boost us up. And theres going to be a gazillion reporters there, so it will be fun to be around. That place is going to come to life.
 
He also figures that Woods will do his part.
 
I think hell be ready to rock, Perry said. When he comes back, hes always raring to go. He must be spittin nails right now. I think hell be better than ever. Hell probably kick our butts like crazy. Lets face it. People play differently when theyre playing him.
 
Unless someone withdraws ' Justin Rose is one possibility because his wife is expecting their first child any day ' Woods will play Brendan Jones of Australia in the first round.
 
Woods was playing some of the best golf of his career when he had reconstructive knee surgery. He had won nine of his last 12 tournaments and did not finish worse than fifth during that stretch.
 
Woods did not walk 18 holes from the last round of the Masters until the first round of the U.S. Open, although that wont be the case this time. Match Play is moving to a new course this year ' the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain ' and he likely will have to play at least one practice round.
 
Haney is curious to see how Woods copes with the rust, but hes not worried about the knee.
 
He came out five years ago and said he had 20 percent of his ACL, and then none of it, Haney said., Now he has 100 percent of his ACL and his legs have never been strong, and somehow people want to think, Will he be OK? Theyre not following logic. The only thing he has to deal with his being away for a long time. How long it takes him, I dont know. But he is Tiger Woods.
 

 
Note: Tiger Woods' return can be seen live on Golf Channel Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET.
 

 
Related Links:
  • The Roar is Back
  • Match Play Bracket Challenge
  • Full Coverage ' WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
  • Woods' wife gives birth to son Charlie Axel
  • Rahm, Koepka both jump in OWGR after wins

    By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka both made moves inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings following wins in Dubai and Japan, respectively.

    Rahm captured the European Tour season finale, winning the DP World Tour Championship by a shot. It was his third worldwide victory of 2017 and it allowed the Spaniard to overtake Hideki Matsuyama at world No. 4. It also establishes a new career high in the rankings for Rahm, who started the year ranked No. 137.

    Koepka cruised to a nine-shot victory while successfully defending his title at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix. The victory was his first since winning the U.S. Open and it helped Koepka jump three spots to No. 7 in the latest rankings. Reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who finished second behind Koepka in Japan, went from 30th to 24th.

    After earning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic, Austin Cook vaulted from No. 302 to No. 144 in the world. Runner-up J.J. Spaun jumped 48 spots to No. 116, while a hole-out with his final approach helped Brian Gay rise 73 spots to No. 191 after finishing alone in third at Sea Island.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas with Rahm and Matsuyama now rounding out the top five. Justin Rose remains at No. 6, followed by Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. Rory McIlroy slid two spots to No. 10 and is now in danger of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2014.

    With his return to competition now less than two weeks away, Tiger Woods fell four more spots to No. 1193 in the latest rankings.

    Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

    By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

    Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

    “I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

    Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

    “Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

    LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

    Parity reigned.

    Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

    Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

    Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

    Rolex Player of the Year
    Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

    It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.


    Vare Trophy
    Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

    There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.


    CME Globe $1 million prize
    Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

    By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.


    LPGA money-winning title
    Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

    The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

    Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.


    Rolex world No. 1 ranking
    The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.


    Rolex Rookie of the Year
    Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    “Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

    Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

    “Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

    Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

    Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

    In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

    She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

    How did she evaluate her season?

    “I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

    “It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

    Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

    “Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

    “I think everybody has little ups and downs.”