Tiger Woods PGA Tour notebook: Tiger Woods keeping busy during rehabilitation process

It appears that the rehabilitation process of Tiger Woods has been anything but restful.

While trying to get his knee back in shape for a return to the PGA Tour in 2009, Woods said he's spent time helping his charitable foundation, keeping up with three golf course design projects and fulfilling sponsor obligations. The world's No. 1-ranked player still found time to take his daughter, Sam, to a Halloween party with his wife, Elin, and take in a Los Angeles Dodgers playoff game as well as sneak in a visit to Torrey Pines.

Woods said his knee is progressing. He had season-ending surgery in June, shortly after hobbling his way to a U.S. Open victory in a playoff against Rocco Mediate on the South Course at Torrey Pines.

"I'm working hard every day, and there have been no setbacks," Woods wrote in his regular newsletter. "I've actually started to do a little chipping and putting but no full swings. That's not going to happen until early next year."

Woods also announced his third golf course project: Punta Brava in Ensenada, Mexico, which is located about 65 miles south of San Diego.

"Like my other design projects, Punta Brava fits all the criteria I'm looking for when deciding to design a course," Woods wrote. "The site is spectacular. I knew during my first visit it would be an amazing project."

Woods said it's now up to him to create a "fantastic" design to take full advantage of the unique site.

"I like working with the land to design a course that is a good fit, so walking the site and thinking through the strategy and shaping of each hole are really important elements of my design process," Woods wrote. "Punta Brava is my first oceanfront design, and there are 17 tees and greens on the water. It's awesome."

Woods said he's looking forward to hosting the Chevron World Challenge presented by Bank of America. The tournament will be played Dec. 17-21 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

"We're excited about our new partnerships and celebrating our 10th year," Woods wrote. "We have a young, competitive field so it should be a great week."

Sergio Garcia eyeing No. 2 spot

Sergio Garcia said this week that he's hoping to jump past Phil Mickelson into the No. 2 spot in the world golf rankings. That could happen in this week's HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, China, if Garcia can pull off the victory and have Mickelson - the defending tournament champion - finish up the track.

Garcia trails Mickelson by less than one point (0.53) in the world rankings.

"If I play well, I can really move fairly close to that second spot in the world," Garcia told the Associated Press. "So, it's something exciting, something that I'm driving toward, and this is a good week to have a chance at it."

The HSBC Champions field includes several top 10-ranked players at the Sheshan Golf Club. Joining Garcia and Mickelson will be Padraig Harrington, Robert Karlsson, Camilo Villegas and Anthony Kim.

For his part, Mickelson seems unconcerned with Garcia's bid to overtake him.

"My thought throughout the year is more about trying to win major championships," Mickelson told reporters. "It's more about trying to win FedEx Cup events and overall improvement. I don't even understand the points system."

Slightly shorter Augusta National

Bucking a recent trend of increasing the length of the layout for the Masters, Augusta National Golf Club will be shorter for next year's first major.

The difference is actually minimal as the total distance has been reduced just 10 yards on the scorecard. Tournament officials will also have the opportunity to reduce the distance a few additional yards, depending upon the weather.

The back of the No. 1 tee was moved forward seven yards, changing the distance on the official scorecard from 455 yards to 445. Also, an additional 10 yards were added to the front of the tee on the 450-yard seventh hole, and nearly 10 yards were added to the front of the 530-yard 15th hole, but neither hole will list a change in official length.

"As we've done nearly every year since the inception of the Masters, we evaluate the golf course and make refinements we think are necessary," Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne said in a statement. "This year, only minor changes were implemented, and all were made in order to provide greater flexibility in the event of adverse weather conditions, which we have experienced the last couple of years."

Worth noting

• Reports that Phil Mickelson was planning to join the European Tour may have been premature. "I'm not ready to commit to it," Mickelson said Tuesday in Shanghai, suggesting the 2009 European season might be too early. "It might be something I do next year. I wouldn't rule it out."

• Seve Ballesteros is continuing to improve following surgery on a cancerous brain tumor, according to the Associated Press. Ballesteros, 53, is conscious, breathing without assistance from a ventilator and able to speak. He remains in intensive care, according to La Paz hospital in Madrid, Spain.

• Missing from the typical agenda at this week's annual PGA of America meeting in Arizona is the selection of the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain. PGA CEO Joe Steranka told the Associated Press his organization is taking a "patient approach" to making its decision about the 2010 captain.

November 7, 2008

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