Ex-coach Butch Harmon said Tiger Woods took a huge risk by playing the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines last June on his injured knee, according to an interview published in The Bangkok Post. Despite Woods’ imminent return to the PGA Tour, Harmon said Woods’ goal of surpassing Jack Nickalus’ record of 18 major wins will be in jeopardy if Woods doesn’t make a full recovery. (Woods has won 14 major championships.) Harmon, who was fired by Woods in 2002 after coaching Tiger for 10 years, said Woods took a huge risk in playing through the pain barrier last June, undergoing knee surgery a week later, although he expected his former pupil to make a full recovery."We hope that what he did by playing at the US Open with a broken bone and a problem with the cartilage in his knee, we hope that doesn't take away his chances to win it (the record), but we don't know," Harmon said in an interview."We'll have to wait and see. It's either the most phenomenal feat ever in the game of golf or not a very smart thing if he played and he doesn't come back healthy," he added."I'm of the belief that he's going to be fine, he's going to be stronger than ever. The game needs him back and we all want to see him back." Harmon also said Woods would probably have to change his swing in the future to relieve pressure on his left knee. Still, Harmon wouldn’t bet against his old boss.
"I would think so [that Woods would make a swing change], to be honest with you. It's the fourth operation on the same knee and this is the most extensive that they had to do," he said. "But then again he's Tiger Woods—he's the greatest player that's ever walked on this planet."