April 01, 2014

Surgery: End of the line for #TigerWoods?

USA Today photo via ESPN
I just saw this on Golf Channel: Woods has had surgery for a pinched nerve.

He will definitely miss the Masters. I assume he'll be early enough in his rehab that while he may appear at the US Open, he won't be worth much there. And, per in-house injury analyst (really?) Stephania Bell in ESPN's piece, average rehab time is 4.5 months, so scratch the US Open for sure, and possibly the Open, maybe even the PGA for this year.

Vegas is leaning to Rory McIlroy as the new betting favorite. Pundits are giving Adam Scott and Jason Day (sorry, but his bum thumb scares me off) some love.

Let's look at the future, though.

Earlier this year, I said I expected him to move to No. 15 on majors wins, because both the Open and PGA tracks favored him. But now, all bets are off, are they not? Certainly, until we see the actual rehab process at work.

Given Phil's back problems last week, at Golf Digest, John Strege recently asked if we're at the end of an era. Could be yes, indeed.

So, Rory? While America and Mrs. Robinson may not be waiting for you, the PGA of America sure as hell is, as are other golf organizations. (An ESPN fan poll says that 15 percent of previously potential TV viewers will skip the Masters because Tiger isn't there.) Ditto on TV networks hoping for some star power, I'm sure.

And it's funny that on April 3, Rory said this thing himself, that golf needs a dominant player. He didn't talk about his "lost" 2013 or a couple of "lost" chances to win earlier this year being part of the problem.

For Woods, it's the first Masters miss since his initial appearance 20 years ago. Here's what happened, at Augusta and elsewhere, in 1994.

As for Tiger's future beyond this year? Lee Trevino won one of his six majors after undergoing more serious back fusion surgery after being struck by lighting. However, overall, he was never the same player after then. (I guesstimate he would have won at least seven majors without that happening.)

And, per Sports on Earth, there's two other questions. First, there's the issue of whether Tiger's workout regimen may have focused on bulking up to the detriment of flexibility. Second, as golf fans all know, Woods moved to Hank Haney to overhaul his swing to reduce stress on his left knee. With the back problems, will current swing coach Sean Foley have to do further work?

And, Woodsaholics? You may need to work on getting a life.

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