Woods Hurts Knee Amid Crush of Fans
Wednesday, January 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) â€” Tiger Woods sprained a ligament in his left knee Wednesday when he stepped awkwardly on a man's ankle while leaving the 18th green at Pebble Beach. He said he was not sure if he would be able to play this week.
Woods, still limping two hours after the accident, was asked what the odds were that he would be unable to defend his title in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
``They're up there,'' he said. ``We'll see what happens.''
Woods was swarmed by autograph seekers as he left the 18th green, walking briskly and trying to sign whatever programs and hats where thrust in front of him.
One man, who had been hounding him for autographs during his practice round, tried to position himself in front of the pack, and Woods' inadvertently stepped on his ankle, hyperextending his knee.
``A lot of fans just kind of came down on top of me,'' Woods said. ``One guy ran in front. I stepped on his ankle, and my weight going forward and his weight coming back ... I hyperextended my knee.''
Woods winced immediately, glowered at the man and grabbed the back of his leg as he hobbled up a hill. He tried to hit balls after lunch, but couldn't.
``No way,'' Woods said.
Woods, the No. 1 player in the world coming off a record-breaking season that included three straight major championships among his nine PGA Tour victories, is often swamped by fans after rounds.
A security detail was with him, but some fans went under the ropes and tried to get close.
``People get aggressive. That's the way it is,'' Woods said. ``That's one reason we have security. Some of you say, 'Why do you have so much security?' It's for instances like this, so they don't happen. Unfortunately, it happened today.''
The man never did get his autograph and ``he yelled at me for not signing,'' Woods said.
Woods said the physical therapists in the fitness trailer told him he had sprained a ligament in his knee. He planned to rest and would determine Thursday whether he could play. Woods and his good friend Jerry Chang are scheduled to tee off at 8 a.m. at Spyglass Hill with Mark O'Meara and Ken Griffey Jr.
This is the second time Woods has been injured since turning pro. He had what turned out to be a stinger in his left hand at the 1999 Tour Championship in Houston when he tried to hit through a baseball-sized rock to get to his ball.
Woods also had a cyst removed from behind his left knee while at Stanford.
Woods is trying to become the first player since Jack Nicklaus in 1972-73 to win three straight events on the same course.
He won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am last year, coming from seven strokes behind with seven strokes to play. In June, he demolished the field in the U.S. Open to win by 15 strokes, the largest margin of victory in major championship history.