Before he walked in for his well-attended news conference Tuesday at Aronimink Golf Club, Tiger Woods announced via Twitter that he would donate $1 million to his foundation if no media member asked him "about the leg."

Well, the suspense ended early on that pledge, since the first question posed to Woods - and many more during the 25-minute session with reporters - regarded "the leg," or more accurately, his left knee and left Achilles tendon and whether he'd be able to tee up for the U.S. Open in three weeks.

Of course, people also wanted to know what the state of Woods' health will be for the AT&T National, the PGA Tour event beginning June 30 at Aronimink, but it's more a question of first things first.

"I'm trying to hopefully get ready for the Open," he said, "and anything beyond that, I don't know."

Since withdrawing on May 12 after playing nine holes in the Players Championship, Woods said, he is wearing a boot to protect the Achilles and using crutches to relieve the pressure on his knee, which has undergone four surgeries, including an anterior cruciate ligament repair in June 2008.

He will try to begin strength training by the end of next week and get in golf shape again to prepare for the Open, which begins June 16 at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.

"I'm trying to do everything I can" to get ready, he said. "All my docs have said it should be ready to go by then, should be good to go."

Asked if there was a scenario in which he could not play in the Open, Woods replied, "There is, absolutely," but then added, "I'm not going to say that I'm looking at it that way. I'm looking at it with the proper treatment and the proper rehab that I'll be ready. That's what I'm planning to do."

The run-up to the Open presents a dilemma for Woods, 35, who injured his knee during the third round of the Masters when he slipped on pine straw trying to hit a shot. He will not practice for a while, in order to let his knee and Achilles get healthy again, but the lack of practice time could prevent him from being near the top of his game at Congressional.

"It certainly would be nice to come up [north] and play practice rounds and do all that and deal with my normal prep like I do for all the other majors," he said. "That is the game plan, and hopefully the game plan will work out."

Woods said he was frustrated with being idle for such a prolonged period but added that it paled in comparison to the six months he had to sit out after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his ACL the week after winning the 2008 Open in a playoff over Rocco Mediate.

"I haven't been able to do much," he said. "I like to be pretty active. I like to run. I like to be able to practice, and those are things I haven't been able to do. That part has been frustrating. But that's part of dealing with injuries. I've dealt with it before.

"Coming back off the reconstruction of the ACL was by far a lot more difficult because it took forever. I didn't hit a golf ball for six months."

With all of Woods' idle time, and the fact he hasn't won a tournament since the 2009 Australian Masters, he has seen his world ranking drop. This week he is ranked 12th, the first time he has been out of the top 10 since April 6, 1997, the week before his historic 12-stroke win in the Masters at age 21.

Asked how he reacted to his falling world ranking, Woods just shrugged.

"Obviously, I haven't played," he said. "When I did play, I haven't played well. But winning takes care of all of that. . . . I'm looking forward to when I can get out there and compete and try to win some events."

Injuries, along with swing changes and a lack of confidence on the greens, have combined to put in question whether Woods can break one of golf's most hallowed records - the 18 career majors won by Jack Nicklaus. Woods has been stuck on 14 majors since 2008 at Torrey Pines.

"It's one of the things that drives me in this game," Woods said, referring to Nicklaus' 18 majors. "That's the benchmark in our sport. No one has played the majors better than Jack has. I think I've had a pretty good run, [winning] 14 in a 15-year period. Jack took 23 or 24 years to do what he did.

"I still have plenty of time. I'm excited to be able to play golf again, be able to play solid and give it a go."

Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or jjuliano@phillynews.com.