| Tiger Woods in Farmingdale on Tuesday. (AFP) |
Farmingdale (New York): Tiger Woods is often asked about the knee surgery he had after his triumph at the 2008 US Open.
A different procedure was on his mind Tuesday. I need to have a sex change? Is that what youre saying? he said.
The questioner led Woods down that path by asking about the USGAs decision to play the mens and womens Opens on consecutive weeks at Pinehurst in 2014.
Do you see somebody trying to play both of them? Woods was asked. Would you be interested?
Before the questioner could recover in time to mention Michelle Wie, Woods delivered his punch line.
Woods has more immediate concerns, of course. Hes vying to become the Opens first consecutive winner since Curtis Strange in 1988-89. Of even more significance, hes trying to win his 15th major championship.
Jack Nicklaus won 18. That fact makes it easy for Woods to respond when asked to name the greatest golfer of all time.
Jack, he said.
Woods is a massive favourite this week a 3-2 pick by Bodog, with Phil Mickelson next at 14-1.
And while Mickelson has teed it up only once in the last six weeks, Woods is rust-free. He rallied to win the Memorial two weeks ago with a sizzling final-round 65. He hit all 14 fairways.
The key, Woods said, is that his left knee finally is strong enough to allow him to practice after rounds.
To get better at this game, you have to put in the time, he said, a comment thats sure to disappoint loads of weekend hackers. You cant think about it and have it magically get better every day. You have to put in the work.
Woods also grabbed an old set of irons and added more loft to his driver. When I first came out here on tour, I used a 6.5-degree driver, he said. Now Im up to 10.5. I hate to see when I get to 40, how thats going to be.
He might need more loft, but hes confident he wont need more surgery. The reconstruction he underwent last June was the fourth time doctors had operated on his left knee.
He said Tuesday he actually had considered holding off on the ligament surgery so he could compete in the 2008 British Open. One problem: I could have played the British, but I probably would have re-broken the leg.
Woods said the knee is night and day compared with how it felt in late March, when he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a 15-foot putt on the 72nd green.
Like everyone says, if you think you feel great after surgery, just imagine what youll feel like in six months, he said.
Jeev paired with Vijai, Choi
Jeev Milkha Singh has been paired with former number one Vijai Singh, the person he is often mistakenly related to, and KJ Choi for the first two rounds of the US Open.