Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Woods Out for Remainder of 2008 Season

TigerWoods.com reported today that Woods will end his 2008 season to have knee surgery for the fourth time.

Tiger Woods announced that he will be forced to undergo reconstructive Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) surgery on his left knee and will miss the remainder of the PGA TOUR season.

In addition to the knee surgery, Woods will require the time off to rehabilitate a double stress fracture of his left tibia that was discovered last month just prior to the Memorial Tournament. The stress fractures were attributed to Woods' intense rehabilitation and preparations for the U.S. Open. Doctors have assured Woods that the stress fractures will heal with time.

"I know much was made of my knee throughout the last week, and it was important to me that I disclose my condition publicly at an appropriate time. I wanted to be very respectful of the USGA and their incredibly hard work, and make sure the focus was on the U.S. Open," said Woods. "Now, it is clear that the right thing to do is to listen to my doctors, follow through with this surgery, and focus my attention on rehabilitating my knee."

A date for the knee surgery, as well as the necessary rehabilitation schedule, has not yet been determined.

"While I am obviously disappointed to have to miss the remainder of the season, I have to do the right thing for my long-term health and look forward to returning to competitive golf when my doctors agree that my knee is sufficiently healthy," said Woods. "My doctors assure me with the proper rehabilitation and training, the knee will be strong and there will be no long-term effects."

Wow, this really makes Retief Goosen look like bad.

Goosen was in the field at Torrey Pines, finishing in a tie for fourteenth, but when asked whether he believed that Woods was faking the extent of his pain, he said: “I think so. It just seemed that when he hit a bad shot his knee was in pain and on his good shots he wasn’t in pain. You see when he made the putts and he went down on his knees and was shouting, ‘Yeah’, his knee wasn’t sore.

“Nobody really knows if he was just showing off or if he was really injured. I believe if he was really injured, he would not have played.”

The South African was trying to soften the impact of his remarks last night, although he did not attempt to retract them, merely implying that he was not being serious. When approached by The Times on the eve of the BMW International Open in Munich, Goosen said: “I was being light-hearted. No one but Tiger himself knows how badly hurt he was. But if he was really badly hurt, he would have withdrawn, wouldn’t he?”

Goosen’s comments caused embarrassment at IMG, the management group that looks after the interests of both golfers, which would not make an official statement last night, but suggested that the South African’s remarks may have been misconstrued.

And then, later in the TW.com story, a possible explanation for his skipping Westchester last season:

In the fall of 2007, Woods decided to forego a number of playing opportunities to allow the knee time to heal in preparation for the 2008 season.
It appears that the April surgery was going to be a setup for this fourth surgery, but that the rehabilitation and the Open ended those plans.
He still experienced pain early in 2008, however, and in an effort to allow him to play through the remainder of the season, elected to have arthroscopic surgery immediately following the Masters to clean out cartilage damage. The cartilage damage in fact developed as a result of the ACL injury, and Woods' hope was that the arthroscopic surgery would get him through the remainder of the season and allow him to delay the ACL surgery until after the season.

"My rehabilitation schedule after the arthroscopic surgery was designed with the goal of returning to play at the Memorial, but the stress fractures that were discovered just prior to the tournament unfortunately prevented me from participating and had a huge impact on the timing for my return," said Woods. "I was determined though, to do everything and anything in my power to play in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, which is a course that is close to where I grew up and holds many special memories for me. Although I will miss the rest of the 2008 season, I'm thrilled with the fact that last week was such a special tournament."

This is Tiger's last thrill for the season. And now the speculation can begin about who will win majors with him out, if Woods will come back the same, and how in the world the American Ryder Cup team has a prayer at Valhalla.

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