BETHESDA, Md. - Tiger Woods entered the room with a slight limp and unwavering determination to play the U.S. Open.
""The knee's doing better,' said Woods, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee April 15. ""The rehab is boring. It gets really old riding that bike, man. But everything's on schedule. Just been training and trying to get this thing organized for the Open, and it's right on schedule for that.'
Woods spoke Tuesday at Congressional Country Club. The second annual edition of Woods' own PGA Tour event, the AT&T National, returns to Congressional in July.
The U.S. Open will be at Torrey Pines in San Diego on June 12-15, a major that could prove a bit dicey for the world's No. 1 player following a two-month layoff.
Woods had hoped to fine-tune his game this week at the Memorial, but he withdrew and has no plans to play in next week's Stanford St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn.
""I wasn't ready,' Woods said. ""I started my practice basically just recently. So going to Memorial that rusty, it wouldn't have made any sense. I wasn't sharp enough. I didn't hit all my shots I needed to hit yet at home and make sure everything is organized. ... The whole idea is to be ready for the U.S. Open.'
Woods also had a two-month layoff before the U.S. Open in 2006, coping with the death of his father. He missed the cut at Winged Foot - the only time he has failed get past the first two rounds at a major.
But, as he pointed out Tuesday, he had surgery on the same knee in 2002 and returned to win his next event, the Buick Invitational, which happens to be at Torrey Pines.
""I know what it takes to win a tournament coming back off after having a procedure done, and it is just a matter of being prepared, getting all my practice time in, making sure my shots are how I want them, trying to understand what my misses might be,' Woods said.
Woods said the current problems with the knee result from ""more stiffness than anything.' He said he made the decision to have the surgery two to three weeks before playing the Masters in April.
""I couldn't function anymore with what I was doing,' Woods said. ""Not a fun way to play, moving around.'
As for his own tournament, Woods hopes to build off last year's successful inaugural event by again paying tribute to the military. Tickets will remain a bargain ($25), and he hopes to announce a Washington-area location for a Tiger Woods Learning Center by early next year.
Woods, however, left the future of the tournament in some doubt. Congressional has agreed to host the event in 2009, but the following two years have been ruled out because of an overhaul to the Blue Course in preparation for the 2011 U.S. Open.
Woods said he will look at the nearby TPC course at Avenel, which is undergoing a major renovation. But he didn't rule out moving the tournament from the Washington area - perhaps for good, if Congressional's membership doesn't want to host the event on a yearly basis.
""We have to explore every option,' Woods said.