Tiger Woods says he had planned to undergo knee surgery after last year's Hero World Challenge. Would we be talking about a 15-time major champion if he had?

How different 2019 might have panned out if Tiger Woods had decided to go ahead with his planned knee surgery at the back end of last year.

Speaking after the Japan Skins exhibition, his first competitive outing since going under the knife in August, Woods revealed he “was intending to actually get it done last year after the Hero World Challenge”.

The former World No. 1, who described the problem as “cartilage issues”, added: “Because I’d played well in the play-offs and won the Tour Championship, I figured I would keep rolling with it, and I wanted to play at Torrey at the beginning of the year.”

You don’t need us to remind you Woods went on to win his 15th major championship in dramatic fashion at Augusta.

“If I had the surgery, I wouldn’t be ready for Torrey Pines, so I decided to not have a procedure done and tried to get through it the rest of the year,” he added. “It progressively got worse to where it was affecting even reading putts. You could see it towards the end of the year I wasn’t quite getting down on my putts well.

“It just kind of deteriorated over the year. That’s one of the reasons why we were planning on doing it last year, but I went and screwed that up when I won the Tour Championship.”

Woods’ 2020 schedule is limited before the turn of the year with just this week’s Zozo Championship and the Hero World Challenge ahead of the Presidents Cup, where there is the possibility he will be a playing captain.

Woods didn’t really give us many more hints about that topic but seems optimistic about the future: “It’s been nice to have it moving again and not having it catch and lock up like it has been. It’s just wear and tear over the years. It’s been stressed out for a very long time and it’s nice to have it cleaned up.

“I’m right on schedule. Unfortunately, I’m probably a week early. My season had ended a little bit earlier than I had expected. I didn’t quite make the Tour Championship, so the procedure was scheduled for the Tuesday after the Tour Championship and I had it the Tuesday of the Tour Championship.

“The whole idea was to be ready for this event and get ready for the Hero and possibly Australia (Presidents Cup). I had it done and, as I said, it’s been nice to be able to squat down and read putts and I’ve started going at it full speed again.”

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