THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) _ Tiger Woods faced a tricky 15-foot par putt with the Presidents Cup on the line. Two days later, he had to utter the four most important words in his life _ will you marry me?

Which situation made him more nervous?

``The words,'' Woods said. ``I've made championship putts before, but I've never had to do that before.''

Woods proposed to Elin Nordegren on Nov. 25 during a safari in South Africa. He became increasingly animated just reliving the proposal during a news conference Tuesday.

``Even if you say it right, even if you say it absolutely perfectly _ those four words _ you can always get denied,'' he said. ``If you hit a great putt in a tournament, and you know it's in, it's not going to lip out. It's amazing how many different things go through your mind at that moment.''

Did he rehearse what he was going to say?

``Oh, yeah,'' Woods said. ``It's obviously a big step in my life. I've been lucky to have met the right person for me. You don't want to blow a special moment like that, have it come off totally wrong _ in golf terms, just yip it.

``You want to say it just perfect, and it came out good.''

Woods said they have not set a wedding date.


FAXON INJURED: Brad Faxon tore ligaments in his right knee two weeks ago and faces an uncertain future the first part of the year.

Faxon was working out in the basement of his Rhode Island home when he landed awkwardly on a medicine ball. His ankle went to the left, his knee went to the right.

He thought surgery might be the only option, which Faxon said would have kept him off the PGA Tour until June.

Since then, he has consulted with Scott Waugh, a physical therapist who works with the Boston Bruins, and five top doctors who have recommended rehab first.

``Most of them agree the best thing is to strengthen it to see if I can play,'' Faxon said. ``That would be protocol anyway, to strengthen, if you're going to have surgery. But I want to give playing a shot. I don't think anyone on the tour has ever done this.''

Tiger Woods missed five weeks at the start of this year while recovering from knee surgery, but that was only to remove fluid and benign cysts around the ligaments.

Faxon said he is walking without much of a limp, and he's been swinging a club in his basement the last few days.

``The real test is whether I can hit balls and walk up and down the hills and play,'' he said.

His plan is to skip the Sony Open, where he won in 2001, and start in Phoenix.

``I believe I'll know before Phoenix whether I can do it,'' said Faxon, who plans to go to Florida in January to practice.


MASTERS MENU: Masters champion Mike Weir says Canadian beer will be flowing at the Champions Dinner at Augusta National next April.

As for the food? That remains undecided.

``I've been kicking around a few ideas,'' Weir said. ``My mom cooks some awesome Italian food. My wife is Mexican and I love that. But Italian food and Mexican food is probably not a good combination. I'll probably have to pick one or the other.''


WOMEN'S OPEN: The U.S. Women's Open will finally get another crack at a course best known for it's men's championships.

The USGA announced this week that the 2010 Women's Open is going to Oakmont, where Jack Nicklaus won the first of his 18 professional majors in the 1962 U.S. Open, and where Ernie Els won his first major in the 1994 U.S. Open.

Oakmont, regarded as one of the toughest U.S. Open sites, earlier this year held the U.S. Amateur. It also will host the 2007 U.S. Open.

Patty Sheehan won the 1992 U.S. Women's Open at Oakmont in a playoff over Juli Inkster, but that was the last time the women played on what traditionally is a men's U.S. Open course.

The women are going to Cherry Hills in 2005. Cherry Hills was the site of Arnold Palmer's famous charge to win his only U.S. Open in 1960, and Andy North also won the 1978 U.S. Open at the Colorado course.


CHAMPIONS AT PEBBLE: Wal-Mart has signed on as a major sponsor of The First Tee, with plans of bringing together kids and seniors at Pebble Beach.

The cornerstone of the two-year deal is a Champions Tour event Sept. 3-5 called The First Tee Open of Pebble Beach, in which First Tee junior participants will partner with 78 seniors in a 54-hole tournament.

Three scores will be kept _ each of the 78 pros, the pro-junior team, and the pro, junior and two other amateur partners. The first two rounds will be played at Pebble Beach and Bayonet, one of the toughest courses on the Monterey Peninsula.

The top 22 pro-junior teams, and all 78 pros, will advance to the final round.

The First Tee, in conjunction with Wal-Mart and the Champions Tour, will conduct regional qualifying tournaments for juniors (ages 13-18) to determine who gets to play.


WOMEN RULE: During a year in which seven women competed on men's tours around the world, one of the most impressive feats came from Yuri Fudo.

She captured her fourth straight money title on the Japanese LPGA Tour this year. What makes her accomplishment notable is that Fudo earned more money than Toshi Izawa, who won the money title on the men's Japanese tour.

It was the first time in Japan that a woman earned more than a man for one season.

Fudo won 10 of 24 tournaments to make more than 149 million yen ($1.38 million). Izawa won two of the 22 events he played, and his worldwide earnings were just over 135 million yen ($1.26 million).

``It's not because of me that this happened,'' Izawa said. ``Ms. Fudo deserves a warm round of applause for winning 10 tournaments.''


DIVOTS: Mark O'Meara was sporting a new look on the greens Tuesday _ the claw putting grip. O'Meara, one of the best putters in golf, had been struggling with the yips the past few months. ... Robert Allenby's victory in the Australian Masters improved his career record to 8-0 in playoffs. That includes three of his four PGA Tour victories.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods had a career-high 299.5 yards in average driving distance, but this was the first year he finished out of the top 10.


FINAL WORD: ``I don't look at it as last place. I look at it as fourth.'' _ British Open champion Ben Curtis, who finished fourth among the four major winners at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.