Woods Leg will be even stronger next year

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2008, 5:00 pm
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. ' Tiger Woods wore sneakers instead of spikes. He sat next to a bottle of Gatorade Tiger, not the silver U.S. Open trophy. One thing that didnt change at his first press conference in 184 days were questions about his left knee.
 
But after speaking for a half-hour Wednesday at Sherwood Country Club, covering everything from his rehab to his caddie to his improbable victory at Torrey Pines, the most powerful statement about his health and future required no words at all.
 
Tiger Woods 08 US Open Knee
Tiger Woods displays his pain during the 2008 U.S. Open. (Getty Images)
Does he have any doubts he will be better than before?
 
Woods turned up the bottom of his lip, shook his head three times and mumbled, Uh-uh, as if that had never entered his mind.
 
Six months after reconstructive surgery on his left knee to repair a ruptured ligament ' his third surgery in six years ' Woods said he was right on schedule to return, already hitting short irons and excited about playing on a leg that has never been more stable.
 
Ive just been training and trying to get healthy enough to compete next year, Woods said. Everything has been right on schedule. I couldnt have asked for anything more.
 
The uncertainty is when he will return, and how his leg will respond when he goes through a full practice.
 
His plan was to start hitting balls in January, but he already has been chipping and putting, and taking full swings with small clubs, shots that go no more than 100 yards.
 
I havent hit full shots with my entire bag yet, Woods said. As far as coming back, I dont know. I dont know how its going to respond with repeated practice days and long days of practice trying to get back, and ultimately playing my way into shape. Thats obviously going to take a little bit of time.
 
He is thankful to be merely the host this week of his Chevron World Challenge ' temperatures felt like the upper 30s even before a light rain fell at Sherwood. Woods won last year by seven shots, and this is the fifth time this year he could not defend a title.
 
The last meaningful shot he took was a tap-in for par on the 19th hole in a Monday playoff at the U.S. Open, a victory that even Woods finds hard to believe. He played that week with the torn ligament and a double stress fracture, and spoke about a left knee with so much swelling at night that he couldnt see his kneecap.
 
As Ive progressed through my shorter clubs, hitting fuller shots, you remember what it was like when you hit a full shot, he said. And for me, the last time I really hit a full shot was at the Open. It didnt feel very good.
 
In the few shots he has taken over the past few weeks, the leg has felt better than ever.
 
Woods said he has tried not to snap his left leg at impact over the last couple of years, but his knee ligaments wouldnt allow for it. When he had surgery at the end of the 2002 season to drain fluid and clean out cartilage, he said doctors told him he only had about 20 percent of his anterior cruciate ligament left.
 
The fact I made it this far was amazing without rupturing it, he said.
 
He made adjustments to compensate, and now is remembering what it was like to have two good legs.
 
Right now, it feels great to have that stability in the leg, he said. It feels stronger, more stable. Its not sliding all over the place. My bones arent moving. Things that I was dealing with, I dont feel that anymore. Im actually stronger in my legs than I think Ive ever been.
 
Even so, he remains cautious about the ligament regaining full strength. Thats what makes the timing of his return uncertain.
 
Woods had surgery a week after the U.S. Open, missing the final two majors won by Padraig Harrington, a Ryder Cup that produced a rare U.S. victory, and the emergence of Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas as potential challengers when he returns.
 
He missed the competition, but saw plenty of benefits from the time away.
 
On one level, its been absolutely something Id never want to do again, Woods said. And the on another part, its been just the greatest time in the world. Training every day, its been a little rough at times, but getting through it. But being able to spend time at home with Sam and watch her grow, its something I wouldnt have had the opportunity to do.
 
Woods turns 33 at the end of the month, already with 14 majors and 65 victories on the PGA Tour.
 
He is closing in on the hallowed mark of Jack Nicklaus ' 18 professional majors, the one record Woods cares about ' and 2009 sets up well for him. Along with the Masters, the U.S. Open returns to Bethpage Black, where Woods won in 2002, and he was runner-up by one shot at Hazeltine, site of next years PGA Championship.
 
He has been saying for years that he will walk away when his best isnt good enough to win. But his longest break from golf might have given him a glimpse of what its like to stop playing.
 
I dont want to play when I know I cant play at this level, at the highest of levels, he said. If you wanted me to go out there and play right now, I couldnt stand to go out there and not be able to fully compete against these guys and not really give them a run for their money. I couldnt handle that part of it.
 
That definitely gave me a better appreciation for my future and leaving the game of golf competitively, he said. As far as trying to make money off my buddies, I will always do that. But as far as competing at the highest of levels, yeah, I have a better appreciation for when that day comes.
 
Retirement can wait. Woods now is occupied only with playing again.
 
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  • South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

    By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

    South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

    Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

    Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

    So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

    Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

    The fourball results:

    LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

    LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

    KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

    LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

    NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.

     

    Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

    By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

    In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

    Made Cut

    The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

    Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

    “I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

    Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

    Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

    This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

    Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

    Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

    The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

    Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

    Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

    The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

    First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

    “You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

    A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

    “The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

    For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

    Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

    “I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

    Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

    “Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

    Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

    Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


    Missed Cut

    Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

    Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

    “That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

    Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

    While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

    Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

    An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.


    Here are some other social media posts that have surfaced:


    Original story:

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

    By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

    Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

    ''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


    Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

    Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

    ''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

    Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

    ''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''