Another Tiger Woods surgery
I was shocked to view on television the report that Tiger Woods had another back surgery. The announcement read like this: “Tiger has announced that he underwent a second successful microdiscectomy surgery on his back Wednesday in Park City, Utah. The 14-time major champion plans to begin intensive rehabilitation and soft tissue treatment within a week and is encouraged he can return early next year”. Supposedly he had been experiencing some random pain in the back for the past few weeks and decided to have the surgery as soon as possible so that he could play a full schedule the coming year.
All that sounds good, but his injuries and surgeries are adding up. This is his second back surgery. He has had ACL surgery on his left knee and there have been two other surgeries on that knee. He has had an MCL strain also on that knee and Achilles tendon strains to both left and right legs. He has injured his elbow and has complained about stiffness in back, gluts and legs. In the past two years, he has had to withdraw or quit in the middle of a round numerous times. In looking back, the story line on Tiger Woods is not how he is playing, but is he healthy and can he finish a tournament! Al Geiberger made an interest observation on FaceBook today. He writes, “In the beginning Tigers swing was criticized that it would be hard on his back. I didn't go along with them, but I think a combination of heavy working out and those hard swings over the years have paid the price!” I agree and would add the constant swing changes have added to the stress on his body.
What does this mean for us seeing Tiger Woods play like the “old” Tiger Woods that we witnessed in the 2000’s? With this latest setback, I am growing more and more pessimistic about him ever regaining his former glory. Injuries and surgeries change the body. They weaken certain muscles and subtly you start compensating and adjusting for a different body makeup. For a top ranked golfer, even the smallest changes in body makeup and chemistry can have a dramatic effect on performance. There are countless accounts of excellent golfers, who after an accident or surgery never regained their former form. Something changes and the old feelings and athletic actions, that once were second nature, where no longer there. I fear Tiger’s body has gone through too much of a transformation and that his old talents and abilities will not correspond with the new surgically reconstructed body.
We expect Tiger, once health, to jump right back to where he once was. Admittedly, I did also, but no longer. I see the first part of next year as learning process with him learning what his body can do. In reality, he has been and now again, is learning to play with a new body with different strengths and weaknesses. If he is committed and really wants to regain being one of the best players in the world, he should play as much as possible in the beginning of next year and have a goal of steady improvement. Winning, in my mind, should not be a benchmark, but the goal is to get accustomed to his new capabilities. This is going to be tough, but if Tiger wants if bad enough, I think he will succeed.
Jason Day thoughts
As I write this, the third round is just underway in the BMW Championship, and Jason Day starts the day with a five shot lead after shooting 61 and 63. Is he the next superstar? I fully see him winning this tournament and the Fed Ex Cup next week in Atlanta. Will that make him a superstar? Only longevity will give you that status. Jason is experiencing unbelievable putting success the past few months. Putting is streaky and can go as quickly as it comes. Next year will prove if he is a truly great. By the way, where is Billy Horschel, last years Fed Ex champion, who many predicted great things from this year? Answer, in 67th place on the Fed Ex point list. Last year was a one month stretch of great putting and ball striking, but 2015 produced no wins or serious contention in major championship. Jason Day is better, but could this be the same type of hot streak?