Tiger Woods says he is pain-free when it comes to his right ankle that was fused in April. It's the rest of leg that remains a work in progress.
And there's no indication when he'll get back to work on the golf course.
“My ankle is fine. Where they fused my ankle, I have absolutely zero issue whatsoever," Woods said Tuesday. "That pain is completely gone. It’s the other areas that have been compensated for.”
He compared it with when he had fusion surgery on his lower back. He said the L5 and S1 vertebrae were fine.
“But all the surrounding areas is where I had all my problems and I still do,” he said. “So you fix one, others have to become more hypermobile to get around it, and it can lead to some issues.”
Of course, it doesn’t take much for Woods to get everybody's attention about when he might play again.
Two years ago, he posted a video of one swing and two words — “Making progress” — that eventually led to him playing the PNC Championship with his son, Charlie, just 10 months after his car crash outside of Los Angeles.
This time all he did was walk.
Woods caddied for his son at the Notah Begay III Junior Golf National Championship, and various video footage showed him walking and carrying the bag. This was a week after Stewart Cink said in a Golf Channel interview that Woods told him he had starting practicing.
For what remains to be seen.
“I’m pretty sore after caddying for four days,” Woods said. “It was a flat course, thank God.”
Woods announced 19 players for the 20-man field at his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas the week after Thanksgiving. Because it is sanctioned by the PGA Tour, that would require 72 holes of walking. Still, one spot remains open and the tournament host is exempt.
More likely is the PNC Championship, which Woods and 14-year-old Charlie have played the last two years. That is sanctioned by the PGA Tour Champions, meaning carts are allowed. Woods has used a cart both times.
Woods hasn’t played since he withdrew at the Masters after the frigid third round. He had surgery on his right ankle two weeks later for arthritis that developed from his car crash.
TGL's SHOT CLOCK
One of the ideas of the tech-driven TGL league that starts in January is to incorporate elements from other sports.
Rory McIlroy, one of the founders of TMRW Sports that is behind the new league, mentioned the feel of being courtside at an NBA game. Matches that end in a tie go to overtime decided by closest to the pin, resembling a shootout in the NHL.
Now there are a few more elements: a shot clock and timeouts.
The clock will show the 40 seconds a player gets to hit the shot. A violation is a one-shot penalty.
Each team will get four timeouts per match — two for the nine holes of alternate shot, two for the six holes of singles play. They don’t carry over, and a team can’t call consecutive timeouts for one shot. A team can call a timeout at any time until the opponent addresses the ball. So there won’t be any freezing of the kicker.
There also will be a referee and a booth official, not unlike an official who walks a final match or a PGA Tour rules official available for commentary in the TV booth.
The shot clock is not entirely new. The European tour experimented with it for the Austrian Open in 2018. In the case of TGL, it will help keep the matches in a two-hour window for TV.
TURK PETTIT AND THE LONG ROAD BACK
Turk Pettit is two stages away from becoming the first player from LIV Golf to make it back to the PGA Tour.
According to Golf Digest, the PGA Tour policy for players who are not members is that they are ineligible for one year after their final round of competition in an unauthorized event, such as Saudi-funded LIV.
Pettit, who won the 2021 NCAA title at Clemson, resigned his Korn Ferry Tour membership and joined the rival league for its inaugural season. He played eight events, finishing in Saudi Arabia on Oct. 16, 2022.
Pettit didn’t play another LIV event. His team (Niblicks) became RangeGoats run by Bubba Watson, who did not play in 2022 because of injury. Pettit wound up playing on the Asian Tour.
One year after his last LIV event, he entered the first stage of PGA Tour qualifying. Pettit tied for ninth in a qualifier at Walden on Lake Conroe about an hour north of Houston. That moves him into the second stage.
Adrian Otaegui of Spain played three LIV events and then went back to the European tour and won the Andalucia Masters. That was when Europe’s penalty was being contested in court.
Pettit still is a long shot to get a PGA Tour card. He will play the second stage on Nov. 28 in Valdosta, Georgia. If he gets through that, the final stage is Dec. 14-17 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The top five players earn PGA Tour cards.
Lexi Thompson already was a long shot to reach the LPGA Tour finale next week at No. 88 in the Race to the CME Globe. Only the top 60 after this week advance to the Tour Championship.
She revealed last week, however, that she fell down some stairs and hurt her hand and tailbone. She posted on Instagram that she hoped massages and “procedures” would help her heal.
Thompson provided an update Friday by saying tests revealed inflammation around the bones and some tendinitis in her hand. She said X-rays showed no “definitive fracture” in her tailbone, just some cortical irregularity.
By Monday, she posted another picture of her pro-am group for The Annika at Pelican Golf Club. So presumably she will be playing.
Celine Boutier leads by 3 points over Lilia Vu in the race for LPGA player of the year. Boutier could clinch the award if she wins this week at Pelican Golf Club and Vu, a two-time major winner this year, finishes ninth or worse. ... Abraham Ancer of Mexico picked up his first win of the year, capturing the gold medal at the Pan American Games in Chile. He shot 67 on the final day to beat LIV Golf cohort Sebastian Munoz of Colombia by one shot. Dylan Menante, who played on the winning U.S. Walker Cup team at St. Andrews, won the bronze. ... Keita Nakajima's victory on the Japan Golf Tour moved him ahead of Takumi Kanaya on the money list. Both players are planning to play the Taiheiyo Masters this week and the Dunlop Phoenix the following week. Both have won the Asia Pacific Amateur and reached No. 1 in the world amateur ranking.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Adam Long hit all 56 fairways at the World Wide Technology Championship at El Cardonal, a course known for its generous fairways. The last player to never miss a fairway over four days on the PGA Tour was Brian Claar at Muirfield Village in the 1992 Memorial.
“You feel a few inches taller.” — Padraig Harrington, on being announced as a soon-to-be member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf