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 During knee rehab, Tiger talks with Gruden, Bucs

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Registration date : 2008-08-09

PostSubject: During knee rehab, Tiger talks with Gruden, Bucs   Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:05 am

This week's news that Tiger Woods won't begin swinging a club until early 2009 shouldn't be met with much surprise. When Woods had surgery to repair his torn ACL just days after winning the U.S. Open in June, I heard rumors he planned on returning for his own Chevron World Challenge (formerly the Target) in December, in hopes of making his usual season debut at the Buick Invitational -- a homecoming of sorts after his momentous romp at the same Torrey Pines course.


If true, that was all wishful thinking.




Just because Woods often looks superhuman on the golf course doesn't mean he owns superhuman healing powers, too. There's no amount of stretching, biking or running that will make his knee -- or the related double stress fracture in his leg -- recover any quicker; in fact, too much stress on those injuries could be counterproductive, as could a return to hitting full swings too soon.

Woods has all but confirmed that next year's Masters is his new target date, and certainly he'd prefer to have a tourney or two under his belt before then.

While golf might not be on the to-do list anytime soon, it's apparent Tiger is getting a bit restless after a few months of couch time. On Tuesday night, Woods visited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' hotel at the team's training camp in Celebration, Fla., not far from his Isleworth home.

"I'm president of his fan club," said Bucs coach Jon Gruden, who initiated the visit. "He is global -- the No.1 superstar in all of sports, at least on my list. He hits all the shots, all the time. He's got complete mental control. He's unbelievable. Hopefully some of that rubs off on us. Let's hope it does. He's a high-class character, great role model for just about every phase of life. I can't say enough about him. I better stop."

Hmmm perhaps the coach is just pining for a new loop -- and a more lucrative one at that. Gruden famously caddied for John Daly earlier this season at the PODS Championship, going seven holes before the tourney was suspended for darkness.

In other Woods news, perhaps you've seen promotional content for Gillette's "Play a Champion with Dad" contest, in which one lucky winner will get to tee it up with his or her father and Tiger as part of a dream round. It's tentatively scheduled for later this year in Los Angeles, and while Woods obviously won't swing a club, a company spokesman told me, "He will be riding the cart with the winners and giving his advice on their golf games."

I once was told Woods turns down more requests -- everything from corporate outings to speaking engagements to television advertisements -- in a day than any other PGA Tour player receives in a year and I tend to believe it. With the current injury, he might actually have some time to fulfill these requests
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