Woods close to return, closer to welcoming second child

By John Nestor
PA SportsTicker Golf Editor

Tiger Woods is prepping for his comeback, but prepping for a second child is his first priority.

Woods is nearing a return to the PGA Tour but will be putting off a decision on his comeback date until the birth of his second child.

The world number one has been sidelined since last June when he had reconstructive knee surgery after winning the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines with the injured knee and a double stress fracture of his lower left leg.

In his latest newsletter on his web site, Woods revealed he just needed to build up his fitness before returning to action but he would wait for wife Elin to give birth before nailing down a return date.

“I did some work with (instructor) Hank Haney for a few days last week and it’s all good,” Woods said. “I’m full-bore with my practice sessions and have no restrictions; it’s just a matter of getting my golf endurance up. I don’t have my golf stamina back yet.

“As for my comeback to the PGA Tour, a lot depends on the baby, which is due pretty soon. That takes precedent over anything I do golf-wise.”

Woods, who revealed he was two pounds lighter at 185 pounds than when he won the US Open, did admit he was looking forward to playing on the PGA Tour again.

“I am also excited about returning to competition. Early on, I didn’t miss golf because I enjoyed staying home with Elin and (daughter) Sam and I knew I wasn’t physically able to play,” he said. “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. I’m working hard to get myself back into tournament shape and will return as soon as I’m ready.”

TRIVIA QUESTION: Kenny Perry earned $1,080,000 for his playoff win at the FBR Open. How much money had he earned in his previous 21 starts in the event?

CHIP SHOTS: Good news for Phil Mickelson among others this week. In the last 21 years, 15 of the winners of the Buick Invitational have been from Southern California. In fact, 10 of the last 12 have hailed from the area. … Six natives of San Diego have won the Buick Invitational - Gene Littler, Billy Casper, Craig Stadler, Scott Simpson, Greg Twiggs and Phil Mickelson. There are five PGA Tour members from San Diego in the field this week - Mickelson, Bill Lunde, Charley Hoffman, Dennis Paulson and Chris Riley. … The last player to win his first title at the Buick Invitational was Jay Don Blake back in 1991. … Padraig Harrington and Retief Goosen will both make their season debuts on the PGA TOUR this week. Neither has ever played before in the Buick Invitational. … Kenny Perry’s win Sunday in the FBR Open comes in his third start of the 2009 season, the earliest in the year he has won in any season. His previous earliest win came in 1995, when he captured the Bob Hope Classic in his fifth start of the year.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Perry ($1,039,898). He now has earned a career total of $2,119,898 in this event.

Question or comment? e-mail john.nestor@pa-sportsticker.com