Woods returns to Torrey Pines (as a caddie)

He can’t swing a golf club yet, but Tiger Woods has resumed his second highly lucrative career: corporate pitchman.
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Woods returned on Monday to Torrey Pines—site of his Rocky Balboa-like U.S. Open win this past summer—to film a commercial for Buick. Sweepstakes winner John Abel from New Jersey got to play the Torrey Pines South Course with Tiger as his caddie. And yes, Tiger gave Abel a read on the 18th green, where he drained that bumpy 12-footer to force a playoff with Rocco Mediate. Showing no noticeable limp, but driving a customized cart, Woods crouched down to read the greens, offered clubs and joked frequently with Abel, a pressman for a printing company who took up golf only nine years ago, and entered the contest because he wanted to win his wife a new car. After spending most of the summer quietly recovering from surgery, Woods has been busy recently, starting with the August release of his video game, which included an appearance on Conan O’Brien and an audience with Michael Phelps, and then the announcement of his third course-design project on an oceanfront property near Ensenada, Mexico. Woods is now clearly on the mend from knee surgery in June and his appearance at Torrey Pines should encourage those hoping Woods can return to competitive golf early next year -- that is, everybody. “I'm able to chip and putt now, but the fuller rotational things will come next year,” Woods said. “I don't know how I'll be ramping up and what my surgeons will allow. I can walk and do all of this stuff. That's easy. It's the rotational stuff that's going to be different.”But Woods has been cautious to raise any hopes about the timing of his return. He said he would “love to come back” for the Buick, but doesn't know if he'll be ready.“I just don't know,” he said. “That's the frustrating thing for me. I like having things planned out. I like understanding what I need to shoot for. But I don't know. The surgeons don't know either. They've never dealt with an injury like this for a person who plays golf at an elite level.”Woods added of his left knee: “It's stronger is some circumstances now than it was last year at this time, which is great.” Watch a video of Tiger playing caddie on

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by Kevin Cunningham