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Tiger Woods undergoes knee surgery

Bothered by a sore left knee throughout the year, Tiger Woods had arthroscopic surgery this week and will miss the season-opening Mercedes Championships next month in Hawaii.

``From what I've been told, the operation went well,'' Woods said Friday on his Web site, tigerwoods.com.

The one-hour surgery was performed Thursday by Thomas Rosenberg at the HealthSouth Surgical Center in Park City, Utah, to remove fluid inside and outside the anterior cruciate ligament. Benign cysts also were removed. Woods had surgery on the same knee in 1994 to remove a benign tumor.

Gary Planos, the tournament director for the Mercedes Championships, said Steinberg called him to say Woods would not be playing at Kapalua.

``There's no question we'll miss him, but I hope he gets well,'' Planos said. ``You can't find a cloud here on the island today, so I'm having a hard time finding anyone who feels sorry for me. Tiger has been here all four years, and we anticipate he'll be back.''

It will be the first time an injury caused Woods to miss a tournament.

He first complained of soreness at the season-ending Tour Championship in early November, although Woods said it has bothered him all year.

It didn't affect his performance.

Woods became the first player in 30 years to win the Masters and U.S. Open in the same season. He won four other tournaments worldwide, three of them on the PGA Tour.

``I had been playing in pain most of the year and felt it was time to take care of it,'' Woods said.

He will be off his feet for the 7-to-10 days, then begin light rehabilitation. Woods had planned to spend part of the holidays in Sweden with his girlfriend.

He said he most likely will miss the winners-only Mercedes Championships, which starts Jan. 9 at Kapalua. Woods might not play again until Feb. 13 in the Buick Invitational.

He had the knee examined after the Tour Championship and reported inflammation, which he treated with ice and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Woods then played three consecutive weeks. He finished eighth in Japan, won the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Hawaii with rounds of 66-61 for a 14-stroke victory, won four skins in the Skins Game to finish last, and was runner-up last week in the Target World Challenge.

During the final round, he was limping badly after hitting out of thick rough from an uphill lie on the ninth hole. Asked whether he was hurt, Woods replied, ``Same old thing.''

Rosenberg described the surgery as ``uneventful,'' and said a full recovery was expected over the next couple of months.''

Woods has been relatively injury-free since turning professional in 1996. He had a stinger in his left wrist when he tried to hit through a softball-sized rock at the 1999 Tour Championship in Houston.

He also sprained ligaments in his left knee at the 2001 Pebble Beach National Pro-Am when a fan accidentally tripped him up while trying to get an autograph. Woods had a sore Achilles' tendon during the U.S. Open that year at Southern Hills.

Woods has won the Mercedes twice, including a duel with Ernie Els in 2000 when matched eagles on the 72nd hole and birdied the first playoff hole before Woods won with a 40-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole.


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