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Tiger cautious over comeback; golf wales.

TIGER WOODS admits his recovery from the knee injury that has prevented him from playing since June is going well although remained cautious over when he will return to action.

The world number one hasn't featured in a tournament since winning his 14th Major title at the US Open and is recuperating from the surgery he had to rebuild his ACL in his left knee.

And though Woods admitted his rehabilitation is ahead of schedule, he refused to set a date for a full recovery.

"I haven't hit full shots with my entire bag yet," said the 32-year-old.

"As far as coming back, I don't know how it's going to respond with repeated practice days and long days of practice trying to get back, ultimately playing my way into shape. That's obviously going to take a little bit of time.

"The leg has responded well. I'm actually stronger in my legs than I think I've been.

"But still, you have to understand the healing process of the ligament. The ligament is only going to heal so fast, and you've got to be responsible for your actions, and I can't stretch that out."

The speculation was that Woods would try and make his return at the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines, the site of his US Open triumph.

But Woods was noncommittal about where his return would be, saying it might not even be until the Masters in April.

"Well, as far as intention, yes, that's always been the intent," Woods said about playing a few events before the Masters. "As far as reality, that's two different things. I don't know.

"The most frustrating thing is the uncertainty. How is the leg going to respond to more hours of practicing, more playing, more holes of play, playing at home?

How is it going to recover from day to day to day? All this is unknown. Everyone heals at different rates. I couldn't tell you and my surgeon can't tell you."

Woods would certainly like to avoid making his first event since his surgery the first men's major of the year.

"It's not the easiest place to come back," Woods said of Augusta National. "Would I want that scenario to happen? No, I wouldn't want it to. But if I can play, then I'd like to be able to tee it up."

That seems to be the main criteria for Woods. It's not where he wants to compete, it's when, and right now the left knee will dictate when that happens.

"When my best is not good enough, I'm not going to be out here competing," Woods added.

CAPTION(S):

ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL: Tiger Woods talks to reporters as he prepares to host, but not play in, the Chevron World challenge
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 19, 2008
Words:460
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