Woods: I'll be better than ever

Tiger Woods has refused to put a time-scale on his return from injury but is confident he will return "better than ever" despite not hitting a ball since his victory in the US Open.

Two days after he played through the pain barrier on his left knee to win the title at Torrey Pines Woods confirmed he would miss the remainder of the 2008 season.

He has subsequently had reconstructive anterior cruciate ligament surgery on his knee and admitted his rehabilitation has gone well so far.

"It's getting better; there's a little discomfort there, more than any real pain," Woods said.

"The doctors are pleased with my progress, though - I'm moving fairly freely, so the plan is to hit a few balls in January and see how it feels.

"As far as coming back and playing goes, though, your guess is as good as mine. I have no idea how it's going to respond or heal. If I tried to hit a golf shot now, it would be one of the worst shots you'd ever seen. Hopefully in time, though, it'll be fine.

"It's my job, it's what I do, and I love doing it. If you love doing the job you do, then you have the greatest job in the world, whatever it is - and I'm lucky that I do.

"I'm addicted to golf, always have been, and I can't wait to go to work every day. Right now I can't do my work, which is hard to accept, but I'll be back and, I hope, better than ever.

"Would I have won more majors had I not had that injury? Who knows? I could speculate all day, but the fact is that we'll never know.

"I hope I'll come back stronger than ever, but until I get back hitting golf balls, who knows?"

Woods continued: "I've not played through that kind of pain before. I mean, I've had pain while playing before, but never to that extent. It hurt a hell of a lot. It hurts just thinking about it.

"You could certainly hear it making all kinds of noise, but I tried to put it to the back of my mind and just play. With something like that, you just have to keep moving.

"And, of course, it helped that it was the US Open - you don't just give up on that. I'm stubborn, too, so I had to finish what I'd started.

"For much of that time I could live with the pain, but I knew eventually I'd have to do something about it - and it came to a head at the US Open."

The US Open victory was Woods' 14th Major tournament title and following the injury setback the 32-year-old said he did not enjoy watching the game on television - but his hunger for playing remained strong.

He told Sport Magazine: "It's been tough. Missing the AT&T National, which is obviously my tournament, and then the British Open and the US PGA... it's not been good, not been easy. Because that's what we do, as players.

Interestingly, he did not include the Ryder Cup in that list.

"We get ready for the biggest events, and I know for a fact that I couldn't compete against anybody - I couldn't even beat my daughter in a golf tournament right now," he said.

"From that viewpoint, it has been frustrating - but understanding that I can't play at all right now makes it a lot easier.

"I hardly ever watch golf on TV, unless I know my friends are in contention. I watched the final round of this year's PGA because Charlie Wi was in contention, and I grew up with Charlie in California.

"I watched from the start of the final round, but he didn't get off to a good start so I turned it off and went and did something else."

Padraig Harrington has taken advantage of Woods' absence to win the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale and the PGA Championship at Bloomfield Hills and Woods felt the Irishman always had the ability to succeed on the big stage.

"We've all known Paddy has the talent to do what he's done for a long time," he added.

"He has an incredible work ethic, which goes unnoticed by a lot of people - ally that to the fact he has so much talent and it was only a matter of time before he had Major success.

"A lot of it is to do with the confidence that comes from being on that stage and in contention. Look at how many seconds Paddy has had on the European Tour. He learnt from those, and it was only a matter of time before he converted them into wins."

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