Haney Updates Tigers Progress


Tuesday we heard details from Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus on why Woods isn't playing at The Memorial this week. Now comes word from Hank Haney, Tiger's golf eyes, on what we can expect from Woods at the U.S. Open in two weeks.
First of all, Haney reports all those rumors that Woods is making changes are just that rumors.
As for the notion that somehow Tiger will need to adjust his swing or strategy in order to compensate for his knee, Haney said. That hasn't been considered. I don't see how the rough will be an issue. He didn't have a wrist injury.'
Haney spent much of this past weekend working with Woods and, Haney reported, 'Tiger hit the ball as good as I have ever seen him hit it with all his clubs. Tiger is an amazing individual and he feels good about his chances at Torrey Pines.'
In other words, when it comes to Tiger, Never say Never.
If Woods didnt convince you in his Tuesday press conference that he will be in the field at the U.S. Open June 12-15 ' and if its been making you a little crazy wondering if his recently-repaired left knee will be ready for the rigors of Torrey Pines South ' heres more encouragement:
It is important to note that Woods will have longer to decide whether or not he is ready for the U.S. Open. Actually, hell have six more days, a USGA official said earlier this week.
The official was referring to the fact that, unlike PGA TOUR events when players must commit to an event the Friday before it begins, Woods can wait all the way up to his first round tee time.
In other words, Woods can show up at Torrey Pines whenever he wants to on the week of the championship. There are no pro-am obligations. And Woods, because he already has qualified to play in the event he won in 2000 and 2002, is effectively committed to play.
We would hope if he decides in advance that he wasnt going to play, he would let us know, said the official. But, the official confirmed, absent a withdrawal announcement by Woods, he wouldnt be out of the event until he missed his Thursday tee time.
Then there were these selected Tiger bits from the media day promoting Tigers own tournament'the AT&T National June 30-Aug.6 (Click for full interview transcript):
  • ITCHING: I miss mixing it up with the boys. Thats what I love to do.
  • KNEE PAIN: Its more stiffness than anything.
  • THE LAYOFF: Itd be nice to have a feel going into any tournament. But Ive been down this road before.
  • CURRENT GOLF ENDURANCE: Its a feel thing. Some days its not very long. Some days its all day.
  • FAVORITE: Favored or not favored doesnt really matter.
  • CONCLUSION: It (the recovery) has been slow. Its been cautious. Its been boring. The legs starting to get strength.
    Freshly-minted PLAYERS champion Sergio Garcia, speaking from Ohio where hes playing in Jack Nicklaus Memorial this week, had this to say about Woods and what his presence means to the U.S. Open:
    Tiger is always a big boost for the tournament and the players. We know that it makes it tougher for us to win the event, but it also drives us to play harder to become a better player. So we hope that he recovers and makes it to Torrey Pines. He just needs to make sure he doesnt make too many moves so that he doesnt screw up his other knee.
    Meanwhile, back in the world of golf that doesnt have anything to do with Tiger Woods, heres an update on The Jumper:
    You remember him as the enthusiastic fan who jumped into the lake adjacent to the 18th green moments after Phil Mickelson birdied the 72nd hole to win the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Sunday.
    It was a terrific cannonball dive. And tournament director Peter Ripa reports the guy was allowed to climb out and leave the grounds without being prosecuted.
    But Ripa said he didnt know the jumpers name and wouldnt release it if he did. We dont want to encourage people looking for a little free publicity in the future, Ripa said.
    Ripa said the area to the left of the 18th green is normally roped off because it bumps up against the left side of the 10th hole. But it has been the tournaments policy in the past to allow spectators to gather in that area once the last group has gone through No. 10.
    Thanks to The Jumper, Ripa said, officials may have to consider closing that area off late Sunday or providing security to discourage more people from taking the plunge.
    It was bizarre, Ripa said. Im not sure whats in that lake. I dont know what would motivate anybody to jump in.
    One possibility is that classes at TCU'located just blocks from Colonial'had ended just days earlier.
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