For those in the golf world that thought the lasting imagine of Tiger Woods' 2011 would be him limping into a white Mercedes car after just nine holes at The Players Championship can rest easy because Woods announced on Monday that he will most likely be at the U.S. Open.
Suffering some knee and Achilles pain that flared up on Saturday at the Masters, Tiger played just nine holes, and did so in 42 shots, before calling it a week at TPC Sawgrass, saying there was just too much pain for him to continue.
We assumed that if he'd return to play this season, it would be either at Congressional or his own event, the AT&T National, but Tiger said on both Twitter and his website that the U.S. Open was likely. "Bummed that my left leg has me on the sidelines, but I want, and expect, to be at the US Open. Will do all I can to get there," Tiger tweeted.
So is the June 16-19 date to return too soon? After taking more than a month off between the Masters and The Players, Tiger was only able to go nine holes, so who's to say he'd be able to hobble around a tough Congressional track for 72 holes after just about the same time away? And if there is one thing we know about Tiger, it's that he isn't going to sign up for an event he doesn't feel he has a chance of winning. The U.S. Open is the toughest event of the year, and depending on his practice schedule over the next few weeks, we could be seeing Woods head to Congressional with just 18 holes (nine practice last Tuesday, nine holes on Thursday) under his belt in two months. Tiger is talented, but there is no way it would seem he'd be competitive in such a stacked event with that little amount of golf over this stretch.
But we will all be glad to see him there, because Tiger still makes these events a lot more interesting, so hopefully that will be his return date. If Tiger wasn't in the field at the U.S. Open, it would be the first time since 1994.