Golf Shots: Another WD by Tiger Woods Raises Serious Concerns
It is probably a good idea to start thinking about another favorite player to follow now that Tiger Woods is all but gone from professional golf. There is nothing official, mind you, but there are fears rippling about the PGA that the next time we may see golf’s most dominant player will be the Champions (Senior) Tour in 11 years when he turns 50. That is how bad his golf game has become.
The latest nadir came last weekend, when Tiger had to withdraw while playing his 12th hole on the Torrey Pines South golf course during the first round of the Farmer’s Insurance Open. It seems that, after a weather delay, Woods could not “activate” his glutes, according to CBS. “It’s just my glutes are shutting off,” said Woods, “then they don’t activate and then, hence, it goes into my lower back. So then I tried to activate my glutes as best I could in between, but they never stayed activated.” (“Glutes” is short for gluteus muscles, defined by About Health as a group of three muscles in the buttocks area of the body.)
Tiger has been failing miserably in his effort to come back from back surgery to repair a pinched nerve in March of last year. He missed two majors – the Masters and the U.S. Open – and made a return on June 29 to play in his own tournament, the Quicken Loans National, where he missed the cut. He then played three weeks later at the British Open and finished 69th. That would be his best finish of the season, as he withdrew in the fourth round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in August and missed the cut at the PGA a week later. After shutting it down for the season and acquiring a new back-friendly swing, 2015 has not started out much better. A week before the Farmer’s Open withdrawal Woods missed the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, struggling to his worst-ever performance at a professional tournament, finishing 13 over par, and firing an 11-over 82 in his second round. All in all, he has withdrawn or missed the cut in six of his last seven tournaments.
Tiger Woods is caught in a vicious “Catch-22” circle in his golf career. It started with surgery last year, and his subsequent efforts to get healthy. Judging by his results in golf events following his return last summer, it can only be concluded he came back too soon. After taking another four months off and announcing on his blog “I’m most excited about being healthy again,” Woods was again forced to withdraw for physical reasons. In order to acclimate himself to his new swing, which has created problems with his short game as well, Tiger not only needs practice, but needs to compete inside the ropes in PGA tournaments. He cannot get repetitions in competition, however, if he is injured or misses cuts. Since Woods spent three months last summer getting healthy, then four more months in the off-season getting healthy again, it leads us to wonder if we will ever see him compete in, much less win, another professional golf event.
As of this date, Tiger needs four more Majors to tie Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18. Woods should take six months off now to get his health back, and six more months to get comfortable with a less violent golf swing. At 40 years of age he would then have four, maybe five, years remaining to make a serious charge at the Golden Bear’s record. If he continues down this same road, we will continue to watch golf’s greatest player reduced to the caliber of the weekend duffer. If that happens, it won’t just be his glutes that fail to activate; it will be his fan base.
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