Golf: Tiger says knee will be as good as ever

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 18, 2008

Associated Press
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. ó Tiger Woods wore sneakers instead of spikes. He sat next to a bottle of Gatorade Tiger, not the silver U.S. Open trophy. One thing that didn’t change at his first press conference in 184 days were questions about his left knee.
But after speaking for a half-hour Wednesday at Sherwood Country Club, covering everything from his rehab to his caddie to his improbable victory at Torrey Pines, the most powerful statement about his health and future required no words at all.
Does he have any doubts he will be better than before?
Woods turned up the bottom of his lip, shook his head three times and mumbled, “Uh-uh,” as if that had never entered his mind.
Six months after reconstructive surgery on his left knee to repair a ruptured ligament ó his third surgery in six years ó Woods said he was right on schedule to return, already hitting short irons and excited about playing on a leg that has never been more stable.
“I’ve just been training and trying to get healthy enough to compete next year,” Woods said. “Everything has been right on schedule. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
The uncertainty is when he will return, and how his leg will respond when he goes through a full practice.
His plan was to start hitting balls in January, but he already has been chipping and putting, and taking full swings with small clubs, shots that go no more than 100 yards.
“I haven’t hit full shots with my entire bag yet,” Woods said. “As far as coming back, I don’t know. I don’t know how it’s going to respond with repeated practice days and long days of practice trying to get back, and ultimately playing my way into shape. That’s obviously going to take a little bit of time.”