Should Tiger Woods play in the US Open

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Coming off his quick exit due to lingering injuries at The Players Championship, we ask if Tiger Woods should play in the upcoming U.S. Open? Jason Sobel and Rex Hoggard weigh in with their opinions.

By REX HOGGARD

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – No. In 2008, before the Torrey Pines Open, Tiger Woods sat in a doctor’s office with then-swing coach Hank Haney and politely listened to the expert’s advice not to submit his ailing left knee and broken leg to the rigors of a major championship.

From there lore has it he offered a few choice words, walked out of the doctor’s office and delivered one of the game’s greatest Grand Slam performances.

Fast forward three years, to Thursday’s mess at TPC Hot & Muggy. Woods limped to a front-nine 42 and kept on hobbling all the way back to Isleworth. Woods said he was playing with his doctor’s blessing this time but did concede, “The more rest the better it would be, obviously.”

Let’s hope both Woods and his medical team change their tune for this year’s national championship. According to one Tour trainer it would take a “normal person” about eight weeks to recover from a similar knee and Achilles injury.

With the season’s second major just four weeks away it seems unlikely Woods will be 100 percent in time for Congressional, which – if Thursday’s demonstration is any guide – won’t be near good enough to contend, or even finish for that matter.

Jack Nicklaus’ 18 majors is still the benchmark, but only if he’s healthy.

By JASON SOBEL

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Yes. As long as the U.S. Open is still a major championship, then yes, of course Tiger Woods should play it next month.

“The whole idea is that I peak four times a year,” Woods said earlier this week for perhaps the 1,000th time in his career.

Those four times – in case you haven’t been paying attention for the past three-quarters of a century – are the four majors. They sort of mean a lot to Tiger and he kind of likes winning them.

Woods remains stuck on 14 career major titles, his last coming at the 2008 U.S. Open. As you’ll recall, he triumphed that week on one leg, undergoing season-ending knee surgery shortly thereafter.

For however injured as his knee is this time around, it can’t be any worse than it was that week. Give him five weeks to recuperate, rehab and recover, and while he still may not be 100 percent, Woods should be healthy enough to at least contend once again.

Think of it this way: At last month’s Masters, he injured himself on Saturday, then opened with a front-nine 5-under 31 in the final round. If not for a few missed shorties, he may be the reigning Masters champion right now.

Even though he appears a long way from success, Woods has proven that he can play through pain at the majors – and play well, too.