Tiger Woods Tiger Woods' season-ending injury has PGA Tour players abuzz at Travelers Championship

While Tiger Woods wasn't scheduled to play in the Travelers Championship, news that the world's No. 1-ranked player will miss the remainder of 2008 due to his knee injury had PGA Tour players buzzing Wednesday in Cromwell, Conn.

With first-round play in the Travelers set to begin today, everyone was left to ponder what life would be like on the PGA Tour without the sport's headline performer.

"It's going to be tough for the sponsors, I think, and the Tour," Kenny Perry told reporters. "Definitely, Tiger is our tour and when you lose your star player, it definitely hurts. There's no question about it."

Just two days after Woods defeated Rocco Mediate in a Monday playoff at the U.S. Open, it was revealed that the 14-time major tournament champion will need reconstructive surgery on his left anterior cruciate ligament. He will also have to recover from a double stress fracture of his left tibia — an injury attributed to Woods' intensive rehabilitation efforts — that was discovered prior to him withdrawing from last month's Memorial tournament.

According to a news article posted on Woods' Web site, doctors have assured him that the long-term prognosis is very good with rehabilitation and training.

"I know much was made of my knee throughout the last week, and it was important to me that I disclose my condition publicly at an appropriate time," Woods said on his Web site. "I wanted to be very respectful of the USGA and their incredibly hard work and make sure the focus was on the U.S. Open.

"Now, it is clear that the right thing to do is to listen to my doctors, follow through with this surgery and focus my attention on rehabilitating my knee."

The news seemed to dispel the notion shared by some, including Retief Goosen, that Woods was being overly dramatic when he limped or winced with pain after hitting a shot in the U.S. Open. Perry said he felt bad for even entertaining such thoughts.

"I thought it was more drama than actually being hurt," Perry said. "I was talking to people and now to hear he's got a torn ACL and a stress fracture or something or whatever — for a man to endure all that, it's pretty incredible what he accomplished.

"We just hope he gets well and gets back out here."

Woods originally suffered the ruptured ACL following the 2007 British Open when he was running near his Orlando home. However, he elected not to have surgery and went on to win five of his next six starts.

In 2008, Woods won his first four events and finished as the runner-up at the Masters. Two days later, he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee in hopes that he'd be able to get through the rest of the year.

While he'd hope to come back earlier, Woods didn't return to action until last week's U.S. Open.

"I was determined to do everything and anything in my power to play in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, which is a course that is close to where I grew up and holds many special memories for me," Woods said. "Although I will miss the rest of the 2008 season, I'm thrilled with the fact that last week was such a special tournament."

At the Travelers Championship, Hunter Mahan is hoping for a repeat of what was a special week for him last year. In 2007 at TPC River Highlands, he birdied the final hole of regulation to force a playoff with Jay Williamson and then won with a two-footer for birdie on the first extra hole.

Mahan said that he expects he'll have a better sense of what it's like to defend a tournament title after he tees it up in the first round.

"Right now, I'm just excited to be in a place that I've had success and excited to play a golf course that I like a lot and to be in a place I like," Mahan said.

Travelers Championship

SCHEDULE: Thursday-Sunday
SITE: Cromwell, Conn.
COURSE: TPC River Highlands (6,820 yards, par 70)
PURSE: $6 million (winner's share: $1.08 million)
FEDEX CUP POINTS: 25,000 (winner's share: 4,500)
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m., 8:30-11:30 p.m. EDT and CBS (Saturday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m. EDT).

June 19, 2008

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