Tiger is off crutches

Tiger Woods is off crutches following knee surgery. He said in his newsletter, which came out today, that he’s not sure how long he’ll be out. He said doctors are telling him he can play sometime in four to six weeks, which still makes the U.S. Open (June 12-15) a possibility.
Read Tiger’s newsletter below:

By Tiger Woods

Needless to say, I’m a little stir crazy since my knee surgery on April 15. Although I’ve been through this before and understand the need for patience, I don’t enjoy sitting around.

I really don’t have a timetable for returning to competition. The doctors have said I should be able to play again in four-to-six weeks, but nothing is certain. I’m just going to do what they tell me to do.

At least I’m done with the crutches. I used them last week at Tiger Jam XI in Las Vegas to get around the hotel. Now, I’m wearing a knee brace and hope to start rehabbing soon.

I knew a couple of months ago I was going to have the surgery. The knee has been bugging me for a while. The only decision was do you miss the Masters or play in the Masters? I decided to play. Even if I had won, I still would have had the surgery.

I’ve definitely been playing in pain, but that’s not why I didn’t win at Augusta. I just never got comfortable with my putting stroke. As I said after the tournament, I was dragging the putter coming through which meant I couldn’t start the ball on line. That’s all it takes on those greens. Obviously, it was frustrating because I hit the ball well enough to win. It was just one of those things.

I called Trevor Immelman a couple days later to congratulate him. He was on the TV circuit, so I didn’t actually talk to him, but I left a voice message. Nobody has ever doubted his ability. He has a beautiful golf swing and it was only a matter of time before he put it all together at a major championship.

The course was very difficult. I didn’t hear as many roars as I usually hear, especially on the weekend. It did play like a U.S. Open course, which is fine. But I think the galleries are used to seeing birdies and eagles. On Sunday, the way the wind was blowing, it was tough to make pars. I hear the club might be making some changes next year to give us a break. We’ll see what happens.

Tiger Jam XI was a great success. Many thanks to the sponsors, celebrities and fans for helping us raise more than $1.5 million for the Tiger Woods Foundation. Our live and silent auctions were big hits. Hot items were a 2009 Masters trip; a private Royal Canadian Pacific rail cruise; an Olympics package; and a 2008 Buick Enclave.

VAN HALEN put on a great show. Special thanks to David Lee Roth, who personally contributed $100,000 to the Tiger Woods Foundation. I also want to thank the Van Halens – Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang – who donated $100,000 to help our programs.

My sincere thanks to all the fans who have emailed their support and best wishes since my surgery. It means a lot to me. I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

Take care.

Tiger

TIGER’S TIP

By Tiger Woods, Golf Digest Playing Editor, Edited By Pete McDaniel and Mark Soltau

My key to straight irons

I think of hitting the ball with the back of my lead hand

There are several keys to good iron play, but none is more important than an under-standing of how the back of the lead hand works at impact. It’s critical for accuracy and solid ball-striking.

Straight shots are hit with the back of your lead hand square to the target at impact. Crooked shots occur when the back of your lead hand is anything but square, because that hand mirrors the clubface.

All too often, I see my amateur partners slice or hook a routine iron shot off the planet without any idea why. Banana balls result when they hit the ball with the side of the hand leading through impact. Snappers result when they turn their hands over too much. In both cases, the back of the lead hand is compromised.

To improve your iron play, feel as if you’re hitting the ball with the back of your lead hand facing the target, the shaft leaning slightly forward. This will help produce a nice divot on the forward side of the ball pointing directly at your target.

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About Jill Painter

Jill Painter is a sports columnist for the Los Angeles News Group, covering everything from the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, USC, UCLA, Kings, golf and all human interest stories in sports.