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Tiger Woods puts Steve Williams-Phil Mickelson feud 'to bed'

December 17, 2008 |  2:25 pm

Tiger_woods_3 Tiger Woods said today that the issue created by his caddie's disparaging comments about Phil Mickelson has been dealt with and is over.

"I communicated with Phil, and we discussed it," Woods said on the eve of the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks. "I talked to Stevie about it. He feels bad about what happened.

"It's over and done with, and we put it to bed.'

Steve Williams was quoted in New Zealand newspaper accounts last week referring to Mickelson with an expletive and telling an apocryphal story from the U.S. Open that painted Mickelson in a poor light.

Woods, appearing relaxed and fit (he's 2 pounds lighter than when he won the Open), said that when he does resume competition, Williams will still be his caddie.

When Woods will return, however, is unclear. He said his left knee, which was operated on after he won the U.S. Open in June, feels better than it has in 10 years. But because he has not hit full shots with all of his clubs and has not been able to practice the way he normally would, he's not sure when he'll get back into competitive golf.

"I've been hitting full shots the last couple of weeks," he told a group of reporters. "But it's not going very far, so I know how you guys feel."

Woods acknowledged that he's a bit ahead of his original schedule, in which he had planned to start hitting full shots in January, but made it clear he wouldn't start competing again until he could play at least at his accustomed level.

"Do I miss being out there? No doubt," he said.

"... I don't want to be the same," he added, referring to his level of play before surgery. "I want to become better than I was."

Considering that in 2008, Woods won four of the six events he played despite a left knee that should have kept him off the course, the thought of his coming back better than he was isn't something the rest of the tour can be too excited about.

For expanded stories on Woods and the tournament, check Bill Plaschke's column and Jim Peltz's story at later today.

-- Mike James   

Photo: Tiger Woods talks to reporters as he prepares to host, but not play in, the Chevron World Challenge golf tournament at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press