Caddie Woods still a few weeks away from returning


WELLINGTON, New Zealand ' Tiger Woods is a few weeks away from a return to the PGA Tour and could decide within days where that return will take place, his caddie Steve Williams said Wednesday.
Williams told Television New Zealand in an exclusive interview that Woods is close to ending his long injury layoff and will return to the tour mentally stronger than before.
Its going to be anytime, shortly, Williams said.
Hes probably 95 percent of the way there. He was waiting for the birth of his second child which just came last week so hes ready to go. He just needs a little bit more walking. He hasnt been able to walk too well, he added.
Anytime in the next few weeks hes going to tee it up. He definitely wants to play a couple of tournaments before Augusta so any day now hes going to make a decision when hes going to play.
Speculation has increased over the past week that Woods would make his return at the Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson, Ariz., starting Feb. 25. His wife, Elin, gave birth to their second child ' a boy named Charlie Axel ' earlier in the month.
Woods has not played since reconstructive surgery on his left knee a week after winning the U.S. Open in June.
Williams said Woods had remodeled his swing to accommodate his injured knee and had been refreshed mentally by his long break.
Hes just got a couple of little issues but when he tees it up that will be a sign to say Im ready to go because he wont play unless hes 100 percent. Its getting closer, Williams said.
Woods had been doing six hours a day of rehab on his knee to get fit again, Willliams said.
He never tees it up unless he believes he can win and hes ready to go.
The New Zealand-born caddie said Woods still had the heart and brain that took him to No. 1 in the world rankings, so that alleviated some concerns about his return from the knee problem.
Hes had to modify his swing a little bit to accommodate his knee, but the guy always finds a way, Williams said. Im a little nervous myself to see how hes going to come back.
Nine months out of the game after a major operation is a long time but hes a hell of a competitor and one of the best weve ever seen in this game so I would suspect hell carry right on.
Williams said it was too early to anticipate what goals Woods might set on his return.
Its well documented that were trying to get to 19 majors and hopefully this year we might be able to capture one of those to add to the 14 hes already got, he said.
The lengthy period outside of the media spotlight also might have helped Woods, he said.
I know just over the last couple of years the tour has probably taken as toll a little bit on Tiger, Williams said. Hes a person thats different to everybody, hes unique and hes out there in his own league, if you like, and I think thats taken a toll a little bit.
So for him to get a break from it, mentally that will refresh him and thats a big thing. We already know hes the best mentally tough player whos ever played the game so that in itself is a big factor.
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