Repaired Woods looking forward to Masters

Tiger Woods’ victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill last month was his way of telling the world that it is possible to recover from ligament surgery and come back better than ever.

The world number one, as if telling those who remain unconvinced, reiterated that message this week in the lead-up to the first major of the season, the US Masters at Augusta.

Woods had surgery on his ACL in the left knee after winning June’s US Open at Torrey Pines, having only just returned form arthroscopic surgery following last year’s Masters.

It is a complicated procedure and many athletes who have gone through it rarely go back to 100 per cent of what they used to be. Woods, though, insists that he is stronger than ever. He wrote in his newsletter:

“The win at Bay Hill validated all the hard work (coach) Hank (Haney) and I put in after my knee surgery. Honestly, it felt just the same as all my other wins. The only difference was I didn’t have any pain in my left knee.

A year ago at this time, I was just hoping to get through the Masters. There’s really no comparison; it’s stable. Last year, I had no ACL and my cartilage was damaged. I had surgery the following week. This year, the knee feels strong and I can drive into my left leg.”

Woods is going after his 15th major title on the course where he won his first one back in 1997. Augusta National is among his favourite courses but it has changed much in 12 years, mainly as a means to protect against Tiger’s huge drives.

He doesn’t plan to put in any special preparation, mainly because of the unpredictable nature of the course, which can provide varying challenges from day to day.

“We never know how the course is playing until we get there. As we all know, it usually changes from Thursday through Sunday – it’s just part of the experience. From year-to-year, we don’t know what’s going to happen.”

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