Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Woods ready, but not pain-free

Checking out the golf scene:

  • Tiger Woods said Tuesday that he expects to be ready for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in two weeks. Woods said his rehab from knee surgery is progressing well and he’s playing golf again. He considered playing the Memorial this week but decided against it because he felt his game was too rusty. During a press conference to promote the PGA Tour event he hosts in Washington in July, Woods said he’s still not pain-free from the surgery but stiffness is the biggest issue he faces. Woods said he decided to have the surgery “two or three weeks before” the Masters and would have had the procedure done even if he’d won at Augusta.
  • With Phil Mickelson’s victory last weekend at the Colonial – and he could win at the Memorial this weekend – the run-up to the Open will be dominated by the game’s two most captivating characters. Between them, Woods and Mickelson have won nine times at Torrey Pines (Woods has six wins there) but they’re coming at this Open from different directions. Mickelson looks as if he’ll be primed to win his first Open while Woods will not have played since the Masters, a two-month break. For most guys, the two-month break would be reason to downgrade their chances. In Woods’ case, however, it seems less a concern.

  • In case you haven’t heard, this U.S. Open will go prime-time on the weekend, at least on the East Coast. The USGA has scheduled Saturday’s third round to conclude at 10 p.m. with the final round set to end Sunday at 9 p.m. Obviously, close attention will be paid to NBC’s ratings over those two days, which means the suits would love to see Tiger and Phil in contention. A prime-time finish doesn’t work when the Open is on the East Coast but if the numbers are good this year, expect a similar scenario in 2010 when the Open returns to Pebble Beach.