When it comes to Tiger Woods one cannot deny the fact that he has always seemed to be injured. Constantly Woods is found grimacing in pain after an aggressive drive or limping as he walks down the fairways. Whatever it may be, Woods always seems to find himself in a spot where he isn’t completely healthy. So where did it all start? Has Woods always battled injury? Sadly, yes. It has always seemed to pop up right when Woods was getting healthy.
The first time an injury made the world turn their heads was extremely early in Woods’ career. In December 1994, Woods had surgery on his left knee to remove scar tissue and two tumors. Short term it really didn’t hurt Woods. It helped him that this occurred during his off-season. In fact, Woods defended his US Amateur title the very next year. This is when the world started to notice Woods as a golf superstar. So obviously this first knee problem wasn’t too crippling for his golf game.
Woods’ next injury occurred in the 1995 U.S. Open and it actually was his first withdrawal in a major championship. The young and very scrawny 20-year-old was hacking it out of the thick rough the entire first round (where he ended up shooting 74). In the second round, Woods finally decided to withdrawal on the sixth hole. His wrist had already been hurting from the previous round and he didn’t want to take any more chances in his young career. The most damage to Woods was the mental aspect of dropping out of a tournament but long term there didn’t seem to be too much damage done.
Then came 2002, which was the year in which Woods’ left knee became a ticking time bomb. Two different procedures were done early in the year. The second procedure was just to drain fluid out of his left knee and around his ACL. This second surgery caused him not to play in the first five events of the year. Not being able to play in these first five events really hurt Woods and his mental game. He had never had to worry about a nagging injury before and was frustrated with his recovery time. After he came back he had to do something to cope with his left knee. This is when Woods started to change his swing and it put him into a small slump. This slump lasted two years and Woods didn’t see a major title during that time.
After a few major victories, and thinking the knee injury was gone, it happened again. As Woods was taking one of his morning runs, he ruptured his ACL. For the rest of the season there was constant knee pain from tournament to tournament. People admire this part of his career so much because despite the knee injury and constant pain he placed first in four of his next five tournaments. Fighting through the pain gave quite the reputation. As far as long term injury goes it hindered him for the next several months and he had to get another surgery.
Lastly, there was the most famous injury of his career. Approaching June of 2008, doctors told the World No. 1 that in addition to the ligament problems in his left knee he had two fractures in his left tibia and should be on crutches. Woods decided to play in the U.S. Open despite what everyone told him. The entire tournament for Woods was a grind against his knee, trying to hold on. Woods went on to win the tournament despite a torn ACL and broken knee. This will go down as one of Woods’ greatest feats and one of his most memorable majors.
“It is amazing that Tiger was able to overcome this injury,” junior Ben Morgan said. “This was one of my favorite victories to watch him get in the bag.”
So when will Woods be back? With lingering back problems and an extremely fragile knee it’s hard to know when he will be injured again. With time wasting away, Woods needs to get a grip on his game if he is going to beat Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors. Injuries will be one of the only things standing in his way.