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Tiger Woods and daughter Sam will not be at Royal Birkdale this month. (Photo: Getty Images)

Knee surgery knocks Woods out of Open Championship

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Tiger Woods' recent announcement that he will undergo season-ending surgery on his left knee meant that the world No. 1 will miss the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, marking the first time in his career he will not play in a major championship.

Tiger Woods has withdrawn from The 2008 Open Championship in order to have further surgery on his injured left knee. Woods, who announced his injury and the surgery just days after winning the 108th U.S. Open in a playoff over Rocco Mediate for his 14th career major title, will be out of competitive golf for the remainder of the 2008 season.

"The R&A was very sorry to hear that Tiger is having a continuing problem with his knee," said Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A. "We will miss him at The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale and we wish him well for the speediest possible recovery."

Despite the absence of the world No. 1, this year's Open still promises to be an exciting and dramatic championship at one of the most spectator-friendly of all the venues used for the event.

"Tiger would be the first to agree that The Open is bigger than any one player, and I"m sure we can look forward to another memorable week at Birkdale," added Dawson.

Woods suffered a double stress fracture of his left tibia two weeks before the U.S. Open, ignoring doctors' advice to take six weeks off to let it heal. And he still won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, going 91 holes over five days on a knee that was getting worse.

"Now, it is clear that the right thing to do is to listen to my doctors, follow through with this surgery and focus my attention on rehabilitating my knee," Woods said on his Web site.

He had arthroscopic surgery April 15 to clean out cartilage in his left knee, bypassing ACL surgery with hopes it could get him through the 2008 season. But the stress fracture and a ligament that could no longer sustain a powerful swing made it impossible to keep going.

Woods did not say when he would have surgery. His swing coach, Hank Haney, said the recovery is typically six to eight months.

"He's been playing way less than 100 percent for a long, long, time," Haney said. "It has limited him a lot in practice. He's going to come back better than he's ever been."

The upcoming surgery makes his 14th major title even more staggering -- despite the stress fractures, he managed to win a U.S. Open that required five days of flinching, grimacing and a long list of spectacular shots that have defined his career.

"Although I will miss the rest of the 2008 season, I'm thrilled with the fact that last week was such a special tournament," Woods said.

He won despite doctors telling him to rest.

Haney was with him in Florida when doctors told Woods the preferred treatment for the stress fractures was three weeks on crutches and three weeks of inactivity.

"Tiger looked at the doctor and said, 'I'm playing in the U.S. Open, and I'm going to win.' And then he started putting on his shoes," Haney said. "He looked at me and said, 'Come on, Hank. We'll just putt today.'"

Woods' ledger for 2008 is a career for some players.

He played only seven times worldwide and won five times, including a major that allowed him to join Jack Nicklaus as the only players to capture the career Grand Slam three times over.

"Tiger is an enormous attraction, there's no denying that," Dawson said. "But the Open Championship has had many exciting finishes which Tiger has not been part of, and I'm sure there will be more. It's very sad. We're very sorry that he's succumbed to the injury and he won't be competing in the Open.

"We hope he has the speediest recovery."

Woods also will miss the Ryder Cup in September, meaning the ninth player on the U.S. standings will qualify for the team.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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