Woods aims for US Open return after knee surgery

Tiger Woods has had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to repair cartilage damage, his second operation in five years on the same knee. He is expected to be absent for at least a month while he recovers.

The surgery came two days after Woods finished two shots behind Trevor Immelman in the Masters. He will miss the Players Championship, but should return in time to play the US Open at Torrey Pines in June. "I made the decision to deal with the pain and schedule the surgery for after the Masters," Woods said. "The upside is that I have been through this process before and know how to handle it. I look forward to working through the rehabilitation process and getting back to action as quickly as I can."

The surgery was performed in Park City, Utah, by Thomas Rosenberg, who also operated on Woods' left knee in December 2002. Woods also had surgery on it in 1994 to remove a benign tumour.

Woods gave no indication that his knee bothered him in the first three months of the season, when he won his first four tournaments to extend a winning streak dating back to September.

While Woods was going under the surgeon's knife, Immelman was going under the bright lights of David Letterman's TV chatshow studio. Perhaps with the help of the show's scriptwriters, the South African made a dazzling impression on his new public.

The man who looked so introverted in his brilliantly-focused charge to win the Green Jacket at Augusta listed the ways his life had so suddenly changed. He said that "when my caddie recommends a club, I can now say 'excuse me, how many Masters have you won?'" He could also "get to put my arm around Tiger Woods and say 'maybe next year'."

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