Tiger's just like us

Woods on the way back

Bob Warters's picture
Thu, 30 Jan 2003

It’s good to know that Tiger Woods is just like the rest of us, when inactivity threatens our regular golf game. For most of us it’s bad weather that rules out golf, for Tiger it’s an operation on his left knee.

He revealed this week that he has been practising his putting on the carpet of his Orlando home – and hitting chip shots into pillows and on to his bed.

No doubt he’s been checking out his golf swing in the mirror and holding his knife and fork with two hands to make sure he hasn’t lost his grip.

A one-hour operation in December removed fluid from inside and around the anterior cruciate ligament, and removed benign cysts. But Woods' doctor said the long-term recovery prospects are good.

"But once you've had the surgery, you're susceptible to having the same procedure," Woods said. "Hopefully, that won't be the case."

He said hasn't felt any pain since he started hitting a few practice balls in the garden and this week begins hitting shots in earnest on the range.

"I need to know if this knee will hold up in a full practice session," he said. "Once I know that, I'll be fine competing. I may be rusty when it comes to hitting one shot. Playing my way into shape is going to take a little time."

He's scheduled to play the Buick Invitational in San Diego on February 13 and to compete in Dubai but won’t take part until he’s ready. Also having made 96 successive cuts, he’s anxious to beat Byron Nelson’s record of 113 and claim a fifth successive money title on the PGA tour.

Reflecting on 2002 he said: ‘The pain in my left knee was so intense it almost made me physically sick. I had to take injections just to keep playing. It was a tough, tough year, one I don't want to have to go through again,"

He showed few signs of pain finishing out of the top 10 only twice after winning the US Masters.

"It was a good acting job," he said. "Towards the end of last year, it was brutal. A lot of times, I didn't want to go out there and play. I felt nausea. I know what other athletes go through with those needles. It's not fun."

Woods will be going for an unprecedented third straight title at Augusta National in April and says: "It's going to be one heck of a challenge -- hopefully, one I'll be prepared for," adding that he won’t be distracted by the proposed demonstrations by groups protesting about the lack of a woman member at Augusta.

"I'll be fine," he said. "Once it's time to play, it's time to play. Whether it's all the things outside the gates, or the fact I'm trying to win three in a row -- all that goes away once it's time to tee it up."



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