NARASHINO, Japan: Tiger Woods said Monday his fitness was ahead of schedule after arthroscopic knee surgery, and dropped a heavy clue he might use one of his four Presidents Cup captain’s picks on himself.
“I’m probably a week early. My season had ended a little bit earlier than I had expected it,” the 15-time major winner told reporters at Narashino Country Club near Tokyo.
“I had the procedure a little bit early and got ahead of it,” he added.
Woods is in Japan this week to play in the US PGA Tour’s inaugural Zozo Championship, a $9.75 million event that is the second tournament of an almost $30 million Asian swing.
He then intends to round off his year by playing in the Hero World Challenge on December 4, before going to Australia to captain Team USA in the Presidents Cup, which begins on December 13.
“I thought that I had enough time to rehab it correctly and be ready for this event, be ready for Hero, and I’m going to Australia either way whether I’m playing or not,” Woods said.
“I had it done and, as I said, it’s been nice to be able to squat down and read putts and I started going at it full speed again.”
Woods, who completed a remarkable return from years of injury and personal problems to win the US Masters in April, said his knee had been giving him more pain as the year wore on.
“It progressively got worse and got to the point where it was affecting even reading putts,” the 43-year-old Woods said.
Woods has a large depth of talent from which to make his four captains picks ahead of the match against Ernie Els’s International team at Royal Melbourne.
He admitted it hasn’t been easy. “I’ve been pretty consumed by it,” he said, adding his return to fitness made it more likely that he would use one of his wildcards on himself.