With the start of the U.S. Open at Congressional only five weeks away, questions about Tiger's physical health and his overall state of mind escalate. And questions about whether he'll ever regain his championship form continue.
Tiger withdrew from the Players Championship Thursday after shooting a 'six over par' 42 on the front nine. He was wincing in pain on a few holes and said afterwards that he was having trouble walking. Tiger 'in pain' and Tiger 'limping' is becoming more usual than not. Golf fans could see and feel how much pain Tiger was in when he won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2008. He looked like an injured warrior, wincing in pain on every tee shot and on many of his shots from the fairway. Immediately after that win, he had reconstructive surgery on his left anterior cruciate ligament. He was also playing with a broken bone in his left leg! Not sure if he knew that, but nobody else did! He was noticeably limping in Sunday's final round at this year's Masters. He later said he injured himself in the third round of the Masters, hitting a shot out of the pine straw. He still finished tied for fourth, grabbing a share of the lead for a brief period and managed to shoot a 67 in that final round.
Tiger's injuries at the age of 35 (four knee operations, broken bone in left leg, Achilles issues, neck injuries, plus others we may not know about, etc.) resemble injuries that aging NFL, NBA, NHL, soccer and rugby players may incur, not necessarily injuries that professional golfers deal with. Four knee operations for a pro golfer? That is extreme!
Yes, many golfers suffer through back and neck injuries and pain but the extent of Tiger's physical issues have taken over the headlines about Tiger. And just imagine the extent these injuries and questions about his health must be having on his psyche?! What a burden to carry, mentally and physically, before teeing it up! Not knowing if he'll continue to aggravate his knee, Achilles and/or neck at any given moment has to affect Tiger's mindset before he hits a shot. Can he swing all out? Can he complete the swing from a variety of angles without further hurting himself? How severe have his swing adjustments been in an attempt to prevent more harm to these areas? The guy could be a walking, or in this case, a limping head case!
Many have doubted whether Tiger will ever surpass Jack Nicklaus' record of winning 18 majors. And with his ever-increasing physical woes, Tiger has to be questioning that as well.
Be sure to visit Ann Liguori's web site at www.annliguori.com to order her award-winning interviews with some of the top names in sports