Tiger Woods had arthroscopic knee surgery in August after ending his PGA Tour season at the BMW Championship. It came as a surprise to many fans who had suspected nothing wrong with the reigning Masters champion.
However, Woods revealed Monday in Japan he'd been prolonging going under the knife since his 80th PGA Tour win at the Tour Championship in Atlanta back in September 2018.
“I played well in the playoffs and won the Tour Championship. I figured I’d keep rolling with it,” said Woods, who'd planned to have his surgery originally after playing host to the limited-field Hero World Challenge in December 2018. “I decided to get through the rest of the year.”
Had Woods opted for surgery on his left knee at that point, he would have been unable to start his calendar 2019 on the PGA Tour as he wanted at Torrey Pines and the Farmers Insurance Open in January. After Woods won the Masters in April, however, he struggled to maintain the high standard he'd set in his return season in 2018. It was the knee that hindered his game.
“It got to where it was affecting the way I read putts," he said. "You could see it towards the end of the year I wasn’t getting down on my putts well. Unfortunately, I’ve been down this road before and I knew the protocols.”
In one sense, missing the Tour Championship in somewhat brutal fashion was an opportunity to get the surgery done a week sooner. Woods says he's now playing at "full speed" and should be fine to play his limited remaining schedule in 2019, including this week's Zozo Championship on the PGA Tour, hosting the Hero World Challenge again and then turning around to captain the US Presidents Cup team in Australia where he's expected to name himself a playing captain with one of his wild-card picks.