Tiger: I won’t swing a golf club until 2009

Tiger Woods won’t swing a golf club again until 2009, and says he doesn’t know when he’ll be able to return to competitive golf. The world’s No. 1 player had surgery to fix a torn ACL following his win at the U.S. Open in June.

“As far as swinging a club, that’s not going to happen until next year. I just don’t have a choice,” Woods said Tuesday in a statement on tigerwoods.com. “We simply don’t know what type of swelling there would be or if there would be any residual effects the next day once you start wheeling and dealing on the knee.

“Everyone’s body reacts differently. I could putt right now, but I’m not going to do it. I don’t know what the doctors are going to tell me about playing golf down the road. I’m taking it day-to-day, week-to-week. All I’m doing every day is looking forward to my next day,” Woods said.

A 10-pounds thinner Woods — the result of not working out, he said — called into Scott Van Pelt’s radio show on ESPN last week and said he was finally able to start riding an exercise bike again, training two or three sessions a day.

Woods’s announcement that he won’t swing a club again this year shouldn’t come as a surprise. His focus has been returning for the 2009 Masters, and he has given no indication that he won’t be ready for that. After his season-ending surgery in June, Woods’s agent Mark Steinberg said, “There will be debate whether he rushed back for the U.S. Open. But I don’t think there will be any debate that he rushes back from his next surgery. He won’t need to. Augusta is in April. And if things go according to plan, he’ll be able to play an event or two or three.”

Contrary to what he told Van Pelt before the PGA Championship, Woods said he did end up watching some of the tournament and congratulated Padraig Harrington on his win.

“As a two-time defending PGA champion, it was a lot more frustrating not to be competing and that hurts the most,” Woods said. “I stayed plenty busy with my rehab and watched some of the Olympics on television. I did arrange the menu for the Champions dinner, and it was a combo of American and Swedish food.”

Woods said he missed “the fight” of competing on the PGA Tour, but added that he has a full plate of side projects, including his course designs in North Carolina and Dubai, his AT&T National tournament, his EA Sports Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 video game and his new Gatorade sports drink. He also plans to be watching closely — from home — when the U.S. faces the Europeans at the Ryder Cup in September.

“I will definitely watch some of the Ryder Cup matches and will be pulling hard for the American team,” Woods said. “I wish I could do more than root!”