Tiger Woods said his doctors have told him that the knee and ACL injury he suffered at the Masters should not keep him out of the U.S. Open, which begins at Congressional County Club in Bethesda, Md., on June 16.
“I’m trying to do everything I can,” Woods said. “My doctors said I should be ready, so I should be good to go.”
Woods said he is still on crutches, but hopes to start strength training in the next week. Once he gets the muscle in his left leg back, Woods said he’ll be able to start hitting balls. He said his injury situation is much better than it was prior to the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2008, which he won despite playing on a broken leg.
“[At Torrey Pines] I had no ACL and a broken leg so I’m a lot better off now,” said Woods, who added that he should be back practicing within a week. “It’s not the doomsday some members of the press are writing about.”
In fact, Woods said several times that his knee injury was not too serious. Asked if his doctors had recommended surgery, Woods was emphatic. “Never. Not once,” he said.
Woods spoke Tuesday at Aronimink Country Club in suburban Philadelphia, the site of the AT&T National Tournament, which supports the Tiger Woods Foundation. Prior to the press conference, Woods joked on Twitter that he would donate $1 million to the Tiger Woods Foundation if reporters didn’t ask him about his knee. Needless to say, Woods didn’t have to make that donation, as reporters asked about the knee repeatedly at Woods’ first press conference since he withdrew from the Players Championship after nine holes.
“I was borderline if I’d be ready for the Players, but I was excited about the event,” Woods said when asked if he had tried to come back too soon. Woods said he probably wasn’t ready for the Players, and joked that at least when he finished nine holes he was at the clubhouse.
“It’s frustrating because I was playing well at Augusta,” Woods said. “It’s been frustrating because I haven’t been able to do much. I like to run, I like to practice and I haven’t been able to do that.”
Wood did say there was one benefit of the time off: he’s gotten to spend more time with his son and daughter.
“That’s been fantastic,” Woods said. “But the other times are treatment and I am getting pretty tired of ice.”
But despite Woods’ treatment plan and positive outlook, the U.S. Open is still not a sure thing. Woods conceded that it’s possible he will miss the tournament, but said, “I’m not looking at it that way.” One thing he’s sure of is that if he plays, he won’t be pain-free.
“I haven’t been pain-free in a long time so thank God there’s ibuprofen,” Woods said.
And that million-dollar donation? He made it anyway. More Tiger Woods: Special Section | Life in Pictures | SI Covers (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)