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Published: Wednesday, 6/18/2008

Tiger Woods to have season-ending knee surgery

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Tiger Woods will miss the rest of the season because of surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left knee, an injury he has been dealing with the last 10 months despite winning nine of 12 tournaments.

Woods also said he suffered a double stress fracture of his left tibia while preparing to return to the PGA Tour last month, which forced him to miss the Memorial and was the source of his pain at Torrey Pines when he won the U.S. Open.

He had arthroscopic surgery April 15 to clean out cartilage in his left knee, bypassing ACL surgery with hopes it could get him through the 2008 season. But going 91 holes for his 14th career major made it impossible to play any longer.

"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," Woods said in a statement on his Web site.

Woods was last seen in public late Monday afternoon walking with a pronounced limp across Torrey Pines toward the parking lot, the U.S. Open trophy in his arms.

Upcoming surgery makes his 14th major title even more staggering despite the stress fractures, he managed to win a U.S. Open that required five days of flinching, grimacing and a long list of spectacular shots that have defined his career.

"Although I will miss the rest of the 2008 season, I'm thrilled with the fact that last week was such a special tournament," Woods said.

He played only seven times worldwide this year and won five of them. He will miss a major championship for the first time in his career and will not be available for the Ryder Cup in September.

It will be the third surgery in five years on his left knee, although Woods said doctors have assured him the outlook is positive. When asked Monday if he further damaged his knee by playing in the U.S. Open, Woods said, "Maybe."

Doctors have told him, however, that the stress fractures will heal with time.

He did not say when he would have surgery.

Woods is ultra private with his health and personal life, never more so than at the U.S. Open. He never mentioned the torn ACL or the stress fracture, 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 chose not to have surgery and went on a run that included seven consecutive victories, including the 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.

What he didn't anticipate were the stress fractures, discovered as he tried to get ready to play in 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."

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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