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New baby biggest factor in Tiger's comeback

Tiger Woods says his hotly anticipated comeback from injury will depend largely on the timing of the birth of his second child.

The world number one, who has not played competitive golf since winning the U.S. Open in June, and his wife Elin are expecting the latest addition to their family this month.

“A lot depends on the baby, which is due pretty soon,” American Woods wrote in his monthly newsletter issued on Tuesday. “That takes precedent over anything I do golf-wise.

“Elin, Sam and I are very excited for the new baby to arrive, although that’s when the real lack of sleep begins,” he added, referring to his 19-month-old daughter Sam Alexis.

“But I must admit, I am also excited about returning to competition. Early on, I didn’t miss golf because I enjoyed staying home with Elin and Sam and I knew I wasn’t physically able to play.

“The truth is, I would have embarrassed myself. Now, I’m getting my feel and practice back. It’s just a matter of playing more on the course.

Woods has been sidelined since his astonishing U.S. Open playoff victory over Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines, where he defied stabbing knee pain and a double stress fracture of his left tibia to clinch his 14th major title.

After recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, he began hitting full shots midway through December and has made his top priority the April 9-12 U.S. Masters, the opening major of the year.

Ideally he would like to play in a couple of events before that and the March 12-15 WGC-CA Championship in Miami could feature in his preparations.

“Once I come back, I’m not sure how much I will play,” Woods, 33, said. “The perfect scenario is I come back without a hitch and play a full schedule.

“At this point, especially with the baby coming, I’m taking it tournament-to-tournament. With our new addition, it’s going to be a hectic spring.”

Woods is a six-times winner of the Buick Invitational, being played this week at Torrey Pines outside San Diego, and says he is likely to keep an eye on the event.

“(It’s) a place that’s near-and-dear to my heart. I’ve always loved playing there and wish I could compete, but I can’t. I will probably watch some of the tournament on television.”

Woods has been sorely missed from golf’s biggest events over the last seven months, his conspicuous absence sharply reflected on the PGA Tour by plummeting television ratings.

“A lot of people have come up to me and said they really miss me playing, and it’s great to have that kind of support,” he added. “People have been incredibly nice during my layoff and I honestly appreciate it.

“I’m working hard to get myself back into tournament shape and will return as soon as I’m ready.”


February 4, 2009

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