Times are tough for our main man Tiger Woods. Sure, the stock market and housing market and, well, market market problems aren't forcing the near billionaire to go shopping for Ramen Noodles, but he is still many months away from swinging a golf club and that has to be killing him.
The good news for Tiger is he is finding ways to mosey around the golf course...as a caddy. Yesterday, Woods filmed a commercial for Buick on the site of his epic U.S. Open victory just four months ago, Torrey Pines. Tiger sported a green caddy bib and drove a cart around the course caddying for 59-year-old John Abel, who won the "Tee It Up With Tiger" sweepstakes.
Showing no noticeable limp, but driving a customized cart, Woods crouched down to read the greens, offered clubs and joked frequently with Abel, a pressman for a printing company who took up golf only nine years ago, and entered the contest because he wanted to win his wife a new car. Abel played only the back nine of the South Course, and Woods left the course soon after finishing at around 10:30 a.m
The added bonus of Tiger coming out of hibernation was finding out some interesting information about that famous knee. Woods is practicing a little, but only with the short game, and he has no clue when the full swing will be ready to go.
"I'm able to chip and putt now, but the fuller rotational things will come next year," Woods said. "I don't know how I'll be ramping up and what my surgeons will allow. I can walk and do all of this stuff. That's easy. It's the rotational stuff that's going to be different."
Also, the question was tossed out by a San Diego Union-Tribute reporter about the possibility of the Buick Invitational, hosted at Torrey Pines, being Tiger's first event back.
"I just don't know," he said. "That's the frustrating thing for me. I like having things planned out. I like understanding what I need to shoot for. But I don't know. The surgeons don't know either. They've never dealt with an injury like this for a person who plays golf at an elite level."
Woods added of his left knee: "It's stronger is some circumstances now than it was last year at this time, which is great."
Now, I wrote a few months ago that the Tiger era could be over with this surgery, as others have struggled to regain their dominance in this sport after undergoing such knee trouble. The only thing I'll say to argue my point is Tiger now has something like five months to work strictly on his short game. The guy is an absolute practicing freak, so if he can do something to improve his game he is going to. He already has the best short game in the world, so if he is out on the chipping and putting green for five hours a day because he can't hit full shots, the guy is only going to sharpen his skills around the green.
That cannot be good news for the rest of the tour, but great news for golf fans. Maybe Tiger will be alright after all.