Woods out for two months following knee surgery

TIGER WOODS has had arthroscopic knee surgery and is unlikely to play on the PGA Tour until February.

Fluid and benign cysts were removed from Woods' left knee during a one-hour operation by Dr Thomas Rosenberg in Park City, Utah, on Thursday.

Woods will start rehabilitation in about a week but because he may need about two months to recover completely, will miss the season-opening Mercedes Championship from January 9 in Hawaii.

The Mercedes was the only tour event Woods had been expected to play in January, and there had been speculation he might miss the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, starting on February 6.

Woods loves the Buick Invitational, so he may try to return for it in mid-February at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, California.

Woods said: "I had been playing in pain most of the year and I felt it was time to take care of it. From what I have been told, the operation went well. I'm looking forward to a full recovery."

The timing of Woods' surgery should give him ample time to be at full strength for the US Masters, the year's first major championship, which begins on April 10. He has the chance to become the first player to win the Masters in three consecutive years.

Woods complained of knee pain in November after the final round of the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta.

But he continued to play, winning the PGA Grand Slam of Golf last month, playing the skins game on Thanksgiving weekend and finishing second at an event for which he plays host, the Target World Challenge, last weekend

Meanwhile, David Toms and Phil Mickelson were maintaining the pressure on leaders Japan as the World Cup reached a climax in Mexico last night.

In the hottest temperatures of the tournament the Americans, round in a scintillating 15-under-par 57 in

Saturday's fourballs, played the first nine holes of the closing foursomes in an equally brilliant 30.

But with Japanese pair Shigeki Maruyama and Toshimitsu Izawa, themselves with a third-round 58, having four birdies in the first eight Toms and Mickelson still trailed by one at 33 under par.

It was developing into a two-horse race, Fiji being four behind in third place and then a three-stroke gap to England, South Africa, Australia and South Korea.

If England's hopes were still just alive, Scotland, Ireland and Wales had fallen out of the running for the

million-dollar first prize.

Scots Paul Lawrie and Alastair Forsyth dropped to joint 10th place with Ireland's Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington, who double-bogeyed the 426-yard seventh. Ireland had three birdies in four holes starting at the eighth, but the damage had been done on the seventh, where Harrington hit a poor second.

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