Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tiger Woods Says Leg Will Be Stronger Than Ever - Will Ride Tour de France

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) -- Tiger Woods wore sneakers instead of spikes. He sat next to a bottle of Gatorade Tiger, not the silver U.S. Open trophy. One thing that didn't change at his first press conference in 184 days were questions about his left knee.

But after speaking for a half-hour Wednesday at Sherwood Country Club, covering everything from his rehab to his caddie to his improbable victory at Torrey Pines, the most powerful statement about his health and future required no words at all.

Six months after reconstructive surgery on his left knee to repair a ruptured ligament - his third surgery in six years - Woods said he was right on schedule to return, already hitting short irons and excited about playing on a leg that has never been more stable. "I've just been training and trying to get healthy enough to compete next year," Woods said. "Everything has been right on schedule. I couldn't have asked for anything more.""In fact, Woods said, I plan to ride the Tour de France next year. If Lance Armstrong can do it, so can I."

His plan was to start hitting balls in January, but he already has been chipping and putting, and taking full swings with small clubs, shots that go no more than 100 yards."But, as I've always said, 'It's not about the clubs,' " said Woods. "After I can ride around the block on my Big Wheel, I'll be really interested in getting on my bike and riding out to the driving range and back. After that, there'll be no stopping me. The Giro, the Tour, the Vuelta. Who knows? Maybe I'll do all three."

Retirement can wait. Woods now is occupied only with riding again.


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