Tiger may be back for Masters, says coach

It hasn’t come from the horse’s mouth but close enough. If Tiger Woods’ coach, Hank Haney, has got it right, then the world number one will be back in time for April’s US Masters in Augusta.

Woods’ last outing was June’s US Open at Torrey Pines, where he won the title after an exhausting 19-hole play-off with Rocco Mediate.

That event was his first tournament after coming back from knee surgery following his second place at the 2008 US Masters at Augusta. His US Open exertions aggravated that injury, requiring more surgery, which has kept him sidelined ever since.

For his next comeback, however, Haney believes Woods should compete in a few preparatory tournaments before tackling Augusta. Newsmax, citing The Scotsman, quoted Haney as saying:

“I’m sure his target is to be ready for the Masters. But to do that properly, he’ll have to play a couple of times before he gets to Augusta. He can’t just show up not having played for so long. I know he pulled it off at the US Open, but 10 months is a long time. He needs to have played some serious golf, maybe two events, before April. That sounds like a reasonable goal.”

Woods absence, according to many reports, has had a negative impact on world golf with television audiences and attendances down.

The PGA Tour could also really use Woods’ drawing power with the revamped European Tour offering increased prize money. Indeed, several American players such as Anthony Kim and Phil Mickelson have expressed interest in playing on the European Tour, which culminates in November 2009 with the $20 million Dubai World Championship.

For Woods, the downside is the ligament that needed repairs will never be 100 per cent again. To counter this, he is working on protecting the ligament by strengthening the muscles that surround it.

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