Tiger Talks About The Knee

By Brian HewittMay 14, 2008, 4:00 pm
The key question all along, as it relates to Tiger Woods post-Masters knee surgery and the state of his recovery going forward for the rest of his career, is this:
 
Will Woods left knee need periodic clean-ups to keep the health of the knee maintained? Or is this'the third operation on the knee'a sign that a deterioration has set in and that we cant predict how the knee will hold up as Woods advances into his 30s?
 
For the first time since the surgery in early April, Woods answered the big question this week. Sort of.
 
I said after the first surgery I probably wouldnt have another one, Woods said. Then after the second one, I said I wouldnt have another one. Now here I am having three. It is what it is. Its the nature of playing sports.
 
Sounds like Woods is resigned to more surgical procedures. And it already has been suggested that he will have to alter his rigorous training regimen to accommodate the knees need for less stress.
 
Annika Sorenstams orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Bruce Thomas, said he couldnt and wouldnt hazard a guess unless he was actually in the operating room. And Woods own doctors have kept most of the details private.
 
But Thomas did say the key was whether or not the three surgeries took place on the same part of the left knee. If they were in different areas of the knee, he said, the chances for Woods knee to regain and retain its normal strength are much greater.
 

EAST LAKE UPDATE
Speaking of recoveries, the planting date for the new greens at East Lake in Atlanta is set for two weeks from today. You may remember last year how badly stressed the greens there were when the players arrived for the TOUR Championship.
 
East Lake superintendent Ralph Kepple says, barring 'cloudy lousy' summer weather, the new mini-verde greens should be perfect by the time the players get there in late September for the FedExCup finale. Meanwhile East Lake will remain closed until then.
 
Mini verde is the same strain of Bermuda grass that was used to transform the putting surfaces at the Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass, home of THE PLAYERS.
 
'I definitely don't anticipate anybody shooting 60 this year,' Kepple said, referring to Zach Johnson's eye-popping third round score last year.
 

NO NIX ON STEVIE
Woods says he and caddie Steve Williams have grown closer as their professional relationship has continued. Often its the other way around for players and caddies.
 
I think we have very similar personalities, Woods said. Stevie is very competitive, very feisty and he always wants to win. People have gotten a glimpse of that, not only from caddying for me, but also all the dirt track racing he does back in New Zealand in his off weeks.
 
Were very truthful, very honest, very up front, and whatever is on our minds, we say it. Weve become like brothers, really. We can have the player-caddie relationship, we can switch it around in an instant and be great friends, and then have more of a brotherly relationship, and then switch right back to the player-caddie, all in a few minutes.
 
And that takes time, and thats happened over I think like 10 years now weve been together. That takes time to develop that, but I think over that time, I built just an inordinate amount of respect and trust for Stevie, not only what hes done for me on the golf course, but also off the golf course as well.
 

STREAK ENDS
When Ben Curtis 3-putted the 12th green last Friday at THE PLAYERS it was his first 3-jack in 374 holes. That was the longest streak on TOUR this year.
 

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.