Tiger Woods spoke on Tuesday at Aronimink Golf Club, the site for the AT&T National, which benefits his foundation. He hasn’t hit balls since withdrawing from The Players Championship last month and didn’t know whether he’d be back in time for the British Open at Royal St. George’s in a few weeks (but he didn’t rule it out, either). “Everything is progressing,” said Tiger. “Both the knee and the Achilles are getting better. I haven’t hit any golf balls yet. I have putted, so I guess that’s not really hitting golf balls, is it.”
When asked if he thought he’d be playing right now if he hadn’t showed up at TPC Sawgrass, Woods answered with a resolute “yes.”
“I’m just playing it by ear right now,” said Woods. “There’s no timetable. You know, as I said, that’s hard for me. I’ve always been very goal-oriented about when I’m going to play, how I’m going to peak, how I’m going to get ready, how my practice schedule is going to be, and I’m not doing that this time.
“In retrospect I came back probably too early at The Players, and it was borderline whether I should play or not. I’ve played hurt before. I’ve played through injuries, I’ve played hurt, I’ve played in pain. That’s just part of playing sports. And I felt that was the same thing. Unfortunately I pushed it too hard and hurt myself, and this time around I’m not going to do that again.”
This time Tiger said he’s being “smarter,” referencing to playing while injured in the past. In other words, Tiger is getting older and he can’t get away with the same things as he could before. And I think he’s making the correct and smart move.
“That’s not exactly smart,” said Tiger, referring to the ’08 US Open. “I’m going to do it differently this time. I am going to come back when I’m 100 percent ready, which is different for me.”
While Tiger was vague with his answers, he did say he would be surprised if he didn’t return to competition this year.
“I would be very surprised,” he said. “I’d be very surprised because I’m progressing. If I had knee surgery and I was out for a while, then it’s a totally different deal. I haven’t gone under the knife, I’m just strengthening and trying to get this thing stronger and explosive again, so that’s a totally different deal. This is not like what it was my previous operations because I didn’t have one.”
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)