Will Tiger’s Knee Make Him Mortal?

Jamie Diaz writes that every golfer eventually encounters his Achilles Heel, but that …

To this point, Woods has been the most artful dodger. It’s not that he hasn’t had some tough losses, or been confused by his swing, or suffered some wear and tear. It’s that by dint of talent and will he has turned every adversity into another launching pad for improvement. As Golf Digest’s David Owen so astutely noted of Woods, “Everything makes him better.”

The event that challenged him the most—the death of his father, Earl, in May 2006—became the catalyst for an inner peace and resolve that led, beginning with last year’s PGA Championship, to the best sustained play of his life.

But at some point, something will not make him better, and if anything sounds ominous enough to qualify, it’s a third operation on his left knee at age 32. This time around, there was damaged cartilage, a material not even Woods can regenerate. When asked if he worried his knee would pose a chronic problem, Woods’ response was almost resigned: “I said after the first one I probably wouldn’t have another [operation] ? and now here I am having three. It is what it is.”

I’ve been saying for years that Tiger isn’t going to play as long as we might like. He’s just 32, but he’s an OLD 32. He’s now been playing competitive golf for twenty five years. That’s a lot of wear and tear, especially with the incredible torque that allows him to hit those awe inspiring shots.

I predict that in the next couple of years, Tiger will cut his playing schedule back to the majors and a couple of other select tournaments. He doesn’t need to play the Tour minimum, because he doesn’t need the Tour.

Read the entire Jamie Diaz article.

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5 thoughts on “Will Tiger’s Knee Make Him Mortal?”

  1. I think with child #2 coming in a couple years or so, that will also be a reason we will start to rarely see Tiger.

    Is it possible with the knee and the kids and the rust that Tiger won’t surpass Jack in majors?

  2. I’ve thought about the child angle, too. Having children doesn’t affect most of us in our “regular” jobs, but golfers seem to be more sensitive to that sort of thing.

    I’m reminded of how Tiger had to take a month or more off after the death of his dad—and then he didn’t perform well. When my Dad died, I had two days of “bereavement vacation” and then I was expected to return to work with no loss of performance.

    And don’t anyone give me that line about the pressures of golf. There is no pressure in the world like standing up in front of a room full of teenagers and trying to interest them in economics.

    All of that said … I think there’s no doubt Tiger will surpass both Jack’s majors and Sam Snead’s total victories.

  3. I dont’ know about you, but I also think that having children in your thirties today is different, and requires more of the fathers particularly than those who had children in their 20s.  Given that Tiger also is without a father of his own, he will be very sensitive to the kids crying for him not to leave for the weekend. 

    My 3 year old every day doesn’t want me to go to work, but I have to – I think at 40 that has a much bigger effect on me than if I was 30.  When Tiger has a 4 year old and a 2 year old crying for him to stay home when he DOESN’T have to work another minute of his life, it is a totally other thing.  Nicklaus, Palmer and pros of that era didn’t have the financial stability when their children were young to just call it quits.  By the time Jack & the King could probably retire, their kids were old enough to appreciate that their fathers were the elite in the world and took pride in that. 

    I think the odds of Nicklaus holding on to his record are climbing.  They are not 50:50 yet, maybe not even 75:25—but it is to 90:10 or worse like it probably was before the kid was born.  Tiger has to win 6 more majors (13 now, right?) – I can’t see him winning more than one this year, that leaves 5 to go.  Given a max 2 the next year, and throw in another kid and less play, give him one in 2010, and he still has to win 2 more.  Throw in another injury here or there, the math still makes it possible, but it is getting harder.  Once the field catches him, I don’t think we will see Tiger win again at 46, like Jack did.  I think he either beats the record by 39 or 40 or he doesn’t at all.

  4. I agree with “I think he either beats the record by 39 or 40 or he doesn’t at all.”  The one angle that might play a factor in this is whether or not beating Jacks record is important to him.  It’s almost unanimous that he’s one of the greatest players of all time (if not THE greatest?).  Is Tiger the type of person that would risk everything to get the title?

  5. Orlando, I think he’s absolutely into breaking records. He’s said so. Jack’s number has been on his bedroom wall since he was a kid.

    The real question is whether he continues to play after that …


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