Tiger Woods entered the room with a slight limp and unwavering determination to play the U.S. Open.
"The knee's doing better," said Woods, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on April 15. "The rehab is boring. It gets really old riding that bike, man. But everything's on schedule. Just been training and trying to get this thing organized for the Open, and it's right on schedule for that."
Woods spoke yesterday at Congressional Country Club in Washington. The second annual edition of Woods' own PGA Tour event, the AT & T National, returns to Congressional in July.
The U.S. Open will be at Torrey Pines in San Diego on June 12-15, a major that could prove a bit dicey for the world's No. 1 player following a 2-month layoff.
Woods hoped to fine-tune his game this week at the Memorial, but withdrew and has no plans to play in next week's Stanford St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn.
"I wasn't ready," Woods said. "I started my practice basically just recently. So going to Memorial that rusty, it wouldn't have made any sense . . . The whole idea is to be ready for the U.S. Open."
Woods also had a 2-month layoff before the U.S. Open in 2006, coping with the death of his father. He missed the cut at Winged Foot - the only time he has failed get past the first two rounds at a major.
He had surgery on the same knee in 2002 and returned to win his next event, the Buick Invitational, at Torrey Pines.
Woods said the current problems with the knee result from "more stiffness than anything." He said he made the decision to have the surgery 2 to 3 weeks before playing the Masters in April.
As for his own tournament, Woods hopes to build off last year's successful inaugural event by again paying tribute to the military. Tickets will remain a bargain ($25), and he hopes to announce a Washington-area location for a Tiger Woods Learning Center by early next year.
Woods left the future of the tournament in some doubt. Congressional agreed to host the event in 2009, but the next 2 years were ruled out because of an overhaul to the Blue Course in preparation for the 2011 U.S. Open.
Holding the tournament at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square has been discussed.
"We have to explore every option," Woods said.
O'Hair in U.S. Open
Sean O'Hair, of West Chester, qualified for the U.S. Open because he is ranked in the top 50 of the official world golf ranking. *