The suspense ended with the first question of Tiger Woods’ Tuesday press conference.
There goes the donation. “How’re you feeling? How’s your health,” an intrepid reporter asked Woods, who was at Aronimink Golf Club for the traditional pre-AT&T National media day. Someone said, “There goes the donation,” Woods laughed, and proceeded to tell the world he hoped to be ready to play next month’s U.S. Open.
The joke was all about Woods’ pre-presser tweet, in which he offered to give a sizable sum to his charity if reporters did not inquire about his injured limb.
“Almost press conference time. I’ll donate one million dollars to @TWFoundation if no one asks me about the leg,” Woods typed.
Naturally, Woods’ attempt to tweak the media generated a torrent of responses from the Twitter-verse, including some suggesting that the scribe who eventually asked the obvious query should write a check for the million bucks.
As for his knee and Achilles tendon, which flared up and forced Woods out of the Players Championship after only nine holes, they are what they are, to put it in Tiger-ese. In a protective boot for the Achilles and on crutches to relieve pressure from his knee and back, Woods said he hoped to begin strengthening his atrophied leg (oops! there’s that verboten word!) next week and be ready to play the Open when it starts on June 16.
No doomsday scenario. “All my docs say it should be ready to go by then,” Woods said, adding that his injuries did not rise to the level of “doomsday” as some “press members” have suggested. “This one’s a cakewalk compared to [his knee injury in 2008].”
Back then, a hobbled Woods won the Open in a playoff after rejecting doctors’ advice that he not even play. The world later learned that Woods had limped around Torrey Pines on a broken leg.
This time around, doctors have never suggested knee surgery, and Woods contended, his injuries are far less severe.
Even so, Woods agreed that he probably should have skipped The Players. “I thought I could go,” he said. “I tried to play. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.”
Woods’ short- and long-term future depends on his wounded walker. “I’d much rather take it slow and see how I progress,” he said. “I’ll take it on a week-to-week basis. I’m trying to get ready for the Open and anything beyond that, I don’t know.”
While participating in Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament next week was “doubtful,” Woods said he had yet to send his regrets to the host. “I’ll call Jack and let him know either way.”
Woods’ extremities were not the only subjects of interest. The former No. 1 has dropped below the top 10 golfers in the world for the first time since 1997, which came as no surprise to the current No. 12.
“I haven’t played, which is one of the reasons I’ve fallen as far as I have,” Woods said, “and when I did play I haven’t played well.”
Plenty of time. The 35-year-old playing on spindly pins also said surpassing Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships was what got him out of bed in the morning. “It’s certainly one of the things that drives me in this game,” he said. “Eighteen is our benchmark in our sport. I’ve had a pretty good run; 14 in 15 years is not too bad.
“It took Jack 23 years to do what he did,” Woods noted. “I still have plenty of time.”
Woods also had a well-aimed barb for his uber-critic, Johnny Miller. “Johnny knows everything, doesn’t he,” Woods responded about a Miller observation that Woods uses different swings on the range and in competition. “It’s not quite that way, though.”
By the way — Woods said he would pony up for his foundation.
“Bet was over after first question but of course I’m going to give the money to the @TWFoundation,” @TigerWoods tweeted, post-media joust.
Speaking of Twitter, read how offensive comments may drive Lee Westwood from the social-networking medium.