April 2, 2014

While the news of Tiger Woods having back surgery to release the pressure of a pinched nerve came out on April Fools’ Day I can assure you it is no joke to the professional golf world, which now faces somewhere around 3-4 months of events without its largest draw in terms of interest, attendance, viewership, and dough-re-mi. Make no bones about it – the professional golf world lives and breathes from Tiger, and you can bet TV viewership and events attendance will suffer simply in the knowledge that Tiger won’t be playing. Same holds true with the Masters, which, while in my view was already wide open, now seems even more so.

Perhaps more than any other sport, golf requires a fundamentally sturdy back because of the precision required against the rest of the field. And for Tiger, while the hope is he’ll be back to his regular self sometime this summer, who really knows – any kind of back surgery is no joke:

A microdiscectomy is a type of minimally invasive spine surgery to relieve pressure and pain caused by a herniated disc. Operating through a small incision in the lower back, surgeons remove small disc fragments that are pressing against spinal nerves.

Recovery can take several weeks and doctors typically advise against bending and twisting the back until patients are completely healed.

After all, it’s not just the playing in the tournaments, it’s all the practice required to keep sharp and the course walking over a four-day period against golfers much younger and now just as talented (though inexperienced, fur shure) as he is at 38 that truly clouds Tiger’s future. He needs four majors to tie Jack Nicklaus’ record, and while it is true Jack won his final major at the ripe old age of 46, everyone knows Tiger has had a lot of lower body injuries for a 38 year old, and his 38 is an old 38.

As I’ve said before, you don’t have to like Tiger Woods or some of the things he’s done over the years, but you have to respect him as a golfer and everything he has done for the sport since his arrival in the late 90s – it’s not much different than the impact Babe Ruth had on baseball in the roaring 20’s. Professional golf needs a healthy Tiger Woods as much as Tiger needs professional golf to achieve his life-long dream. The big question now is what kind of Tiger Woods will be there upon his return, whenever that is.

Here’s hoping for a speedy and successful recovery for Tiger.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:50 | Comments (0)
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