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Woods is not even close to getting back on course

He says he won't start swinging a club again until 2009, putting his return date up in the air.

August 13, 2008|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

Tiger Woods says he isn't going to be physically able to swing a club until 2009.

Woods, who underwent reconstructive left knee surgery after winning the U.S. Open in June, wrote on his website that he has begun riding a stationary bicycle to start his rehabilitation, but that he won't try to get back to practicing and swing a club any time soon.

"As far as swinging a club, that's not going to happen until next year," Woods wrote in a blog on tigerwoods.com. "I just don't have a choice. 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."

If Woods waits until January to swing a club for the first time, it could delay his return to the PGA Tour until after the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines, the first week of February.

"I don't know what the doctors are going to tell me about playing golf down the road," Woods wrote.

There has been speculation that Woods, who also had two stress fractures in his left leg, is targeting Torrey for his comeback, because that is where he won the U.S. Open and also the same course where has won the Buick Invitational six times.

Without Woods, the Nielsen ratings for the last two majors were dramatically lower, despite consecutive inspiring victories by Padraig Harrington.

The PGA Championship on CBS had a final-round overnight rating of 3.0, a drop of 55% from last year when Woods won. And the final round of the British Open on ABC had an overnight rating of 3.5, a decrease of 14.6% from last year.

If the Ryder Cup on NBC can't deliver big numbers, without Woods, it doesn't bode well for the upcoming FedEx Cup series, in which Woods won $10 million last year.

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thomas.bonk@latimes.com

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