Question rises: How is Tiger Woods’ knee?DUBLIN, Ohio – It was a feel-good kind of day at the Memorial Tournament Wednesday, all warm and cuddly despite the penetrating chill of the day-long drizzle. If it’s rain, chill and yucky in June, it must be Columbus and the Memorial, and yes to all.
But all was warmed, if not dried, by the Memorial Skins Game, the reunion of Jack Nicklaus, the host, and Tiger Woods. It had been nine years since they played together. They were in one group, along with Kenny Perry and Stewart Cink, and Vijay Singh, Padraig Harrington, Camilo Villegas and Jim Furyk made up the other, and they plugged on through the constant rain, followed by a few adoring thousands huddled under ponchos, umbrellas and the like. The guys were all grins and yuks and hitting some pretty fair shots, such as Woods holing out a chip, and Perry nearly following him in, and Villegas dropping one in front out of a bunker. But there was an interesting question hovering over it all – Tiger Woods’ repaired knee. (And we thought that was all done with.)
It first rose with Nicklaus, when someone in the media corps asked his opinion about Woods’ comeback from ligament surgery to his left knee of last June. Lord knows, there didn’t seem to be a question. Woods has played in six events, has one win, four other top-10 finishes, and a worst of a tie for 17th. The healthiest pro in the world would make a deal with the devil to have that record the moment before he breathes his last.
“I think that the answer should come from Tiger,” Nicklaus ventured, and then he ventured further, speaking on the of the knee-lock and twist from which Woods gets so much of his power, and which also wore out his anterior cruciate ligament. “I think he’s probably protecting that,” Nicklaus said. “If you look at his golf swing, I don’t think he moves out of the way of the ball like he used to. I think that’s probably protective, and it’s probably a good move on his part. That’s probably on purpose. He’s probably adjusted his swing to fit that.”
In what followed, things became rather awkward, in a subtle way, set against the context of Woods’ comments when he first returned after some eight months of rehabilitation, a quiet period interrupted now and again by Woods medical advisories. Then the questions came on his return at the Accenture Match Play in February, and afterward.
“I felt good,” he said. “It didn’t feel like I was gone.”
“No pain at all. Zero.”
How did the knee feel?
“It felt good. It felt really good. I just iced it and didn’t have any soreness, which was nice.”
And on the intimation that perhaps he’d come back too soon:
“In golf, because of the longevity of the sport, I can afford to take my time to make sure I was ready to come back.”
And at the Masters, after the hills of Augusta National:
“After playing at the Match Play and coming off those tee boxes when my knee was basically untested, had no problem recovering from day-to-day. We don’t have a problem there.”
Woods was speaking pretty much of pain, but the overall impression clearly was that all is well with his knee. But then, what to make of the exchanges here?
Woods was told of Nicklaus’ belief, that he was protecting the knee in his swing.
“Absolutely – no doubt,” Woods said, in what’s believed to be his first public utterance on the subject. “Had to be that way. Worst thing you can do is stretch out the ligament right away. The surgery would have been all for naught. That’s one of the reasons it takes most athletes a lot longer to come back. You just don’t want to stretch out that ligament.
“That’s one of the reasons why I haven't been able to hit balls as far as I normally do. But that’s coming. Each week, I’m able to hit a little bit longer. It’s great. Just a little longer before I’m able to get all of that back.”
Maybe it’s this clear. On the other hand, maybe it’s hazy. Is this normal stuff? Or have there been complications? Are things progressing normally? Or have there been twinges or something. Woods seemed OK during the romp through the skins game. Why did this matter come up in the first place? The question remains – how goes the most famous knee in the world?
Return to Latest News archives