Tiger Still Injured, Hopes to Play US Open
By Stephanie Wei under Tiger Woods

Tiger says he probably came back too soon at The Players

Surprise! — Tiger Woods didn’t say anything surprising in his AT&T National media day presser at Aronimink Golf Club. Woods is wearing a protective boot for his injured left Achilles tendon and using crutches to take pressure off his left knee and calf.

He’s continued to receive treatment, which consists of ice, stem and soft tissue work. He’s following doctor’s orders to stay off his leg and hopes to start “strength training” next week and “get into golf shape.” While he’s “doubtful” to play at next week’s Memorial tournament, his doctors expect him to be healthy enough to play in the US Open at Congressional, June 16-19. However, Tiger didn’t guarantee his presence.

“It would certainly be nice to play practice rounds and do all my normal prep before a major, and that’s my normal game plan, and hopefully my game plan pans out,” he said.

There is absolutely a chance (I don’t play),” Woods added. “I’m not going to say that I’m looking at it that way. I’m looking at it with the proper treatment and with the proper rehab, I’ll be ready, and that’s what I’ll try to do.”

I’ll bet we’ll see Tiger at the US Open. After all, a broken leg couldn’t keep him away in 2008. And you know how hard he tries to peak four times a year!

As for the future of his nagging knee injury, he admitted it’s obviously taken a beating and not the same after enduring four surgeries. “I’m sure down the road, it’ll be more difficult, but hopefully I’ll be on a cart by then on the senior tour,” he cracked.

Compared to his injury from ’08, Tiger called the current one a “cakewalk.”

“It’s not the doomsday that some of the press members are writing about,” he said. “I was certainly a lot more concerned in ’08; end of ’07, finishing the year with my ACL ruptured…I was confident about going forward. I’d never been through a period where I had to shut it down for six months either…It was a lot of pain. It was a tough period.”

Tiger also admitted to playing with discomfort for quite some time, though he didn’t specify.

“I haven’t been pain free in a long time,” he said. “Thank God there’s ibuprofen.”

And other much stronger painkillers, of course.

When asked if doctors had suggested the possibility of surgery, Tiger shut down any speculation of that happening. “No, not once,” he said sternly.

Oh, another reason why I think we’ll definitely see Tiger at Congressional? He’s still chasing Jack’s record.

“Eighteen is the benchmark in our sport,” said Woods. “I’ve had a pretty good run and looking forward to the future. I still have plenty of time. I just want to be healthy and solid and give it a go.”

Tiger has won fourteen major championships, with the last at the ’08 US Open at Torrey Pines. He endured “a Grade 1 mild medial collateral ligament sprain to his left knee and a mild strain to his left Achilles tendon while hitting a difficult and awkward second shot from the pine straw under the Eisenhower tree left of the fairway at No. 17 during the third round of the Masters.” After skipping the Quail Hollow Championship, Tiger returned for The Players, where he reinjured his left knee, which led to aggravation of his calf and Achilles tendon, during the first round. He withdrew after nine holes.

(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)