“We sent him flowers for winning the U.S. Open. Now I wish I had put in a note of condolences,” U.S. captain Paul Azinger quipped. “But this is not about Tiger and the Ryder Cup. It’s about Tiger getting better and his march to history.”
The majors won’t miss Woods nearly as much as the PGA Tour — and the networks that televise it — especially in the second year of the FedEx Cup, which Woods won in a landslide last year.
He still might be leading the points race in August leading to the playoffs. Even with Woods no longer playing the rest of the year, he will keep his spot in the playoff events for which he is eligible.
“Tiger is our tour,” Kenny Perry said from the Travelers Championship, which starts Thursday at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut. “When you lose your star player, it definitely hurts.”
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said his concern was for Woods’ health and well being.
“We wish him the best toward a speedy recovery,” he said.
Woods is private about his health and personal life, never more so than at the just-completed U.S. Open. He didn’t say anything about the torn ACL or the stress fractures, and wouldn’t say how he was treating it, only that it was more sore as the week went on.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was when the injury first happened.
Woods said he tore the ACL while jogging at home after the British Open last July. He played on, going on a streak that included seven consecutive victories, including Dubai Desert Classic in Europe and his Target World Challenge, an unofficial event.
He did not play overseas late last year for the first time since 2003, hopeful that rest could allow him to play more this year. But the pain intensified through the Masters, where he finished second, and Woods said the cartilage damage developed from the ACL injury.
He bypassed surgery on the torn ligament April 15, hopeful that by cleaning out the cartilage he could make it through the year. What he didn’t anticipate were the stress fractures as he tried to get ready for the Memorial.
“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,” Woods said. “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.”
Woods won for the eighth time at the public golf course in San Diego — a U.S. Open, a record six times at the Buick Invitational, and a Junior World Championship as a teenager.
He called his U.S. Open victory “probably the best ever.”
On Wednesday, he explained why.
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