Tiger Woods Tiger Woods says he won't swing a golf club until 2009, Nicklaus offers Ryder Cup prediction

The return of Tiger Woods to the PGA Tour apparently won't be rushed.

In a blog posted Tuesday on the PGA Tour's Web site, Woods said his rehabilitation is coming along well and he's getting around well. However, the world's No. 1-ranked player also said that he doesn't expect to be back on the practice range or the golf course anytime soon.

"As far as swinging a club, that's not going to happen until next year," Woods said in his blog. "I just don't have a choice. We simply don't know what type of swelling there would be or if there would be any residual effects the next day once you start wheeling and dealing on the knee.

"Everyone's body reacts differently. I could putt right now, but I'm not going to do it."

Woods, who has been out of action since winning the U.S. Open and had reconstructive surgery on his left knee on June 24, also congratulated Padraig Harrington on winning the British Open and the PGA Championship. Woods said it was particularly frustrating watching the PGA Championship, rather than being at Oakland Hills Country Club to defend his title.

"The thing I miss the most about not competing is the fight," Woods said. "I've gone through this experience before, so I knew what I was in for. I know I'm in no condition to beat anybody right now, so I don't have a problem with not being able to compete."

The next high-profile event Woods will have to endure missing is next month's Ryder Cup Matches.

"I will definitely watch some of the Ryder Cup Matches and will be pulling hard for the American team," Woods said. "I wish I could do more than root!"

U.S. embracing underdog role at Ryder Cup

After getting routed by record margins in each of the past two Ryder Cup Matches and not having Tiger Woods to anchor the United States team this year, it's clear that Captain Paul Azinger is embracing his team's role in this year's event.

"We are going to take on an underdog role in this Ryder Cup for the first time in a long time - even on paper - when you look at the strength of the European squad," Azinger told the Associated Press. "We are going to have everything to gain here."

With Woods out of action due to a knee injury, the eight automatic qualifiers for the U.S. team are Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Kenny Perry, Jim Furyk, Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard, Ben Curtis and Boo Weekly. Azinger will make his four captain's selections for the team in early September.

Jack Nicklaus' Ryder Cup prediction

Even though the Europeans figure to be favored in the Ryder Cup Matches, golfing great Jack Nicklaus said he likes the U.S. team's chances playing in front of a home crowd at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.

Speaking Monday prior to a charity tournament hosted in Sellersburg, Ind., Nicklaus predicted a victory for the U.S. squad — even without the services of the injured Tiger Woods.

"I think we're on home soil, but I think the Europeans are pretty strong right now, stronger than I thought they were going to be," Nicklaus was quoted as saying in an Associated Press story. "I still think the U.S. is going to win at Valhalla."

Luke Donald out for year

Luke Donald's year is over as he underwent successful surgery on his left wrist Monday and will miss the remainder of the 2008 PGA Tour season.

Dr. Andrew Weiland, who has performed a similar procedure on baseball player Jason Giambi as well as another wrist surgery on fellow PGA Tour player Jim Furyk, performed the procedure on Donald in New York. Donald first suffered the injury during the final round of the U.S. Open in June.

"The injury Luke suffered is not all that uncommon for golfers and baseball players, and I'm confident he will make a full recovery with the proper rehabilitation and training," Weiland said in a statement. "I'm extremely pleased with how the surgery went."

August 13, 2008

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