Love him or hate him there is one thing about Tiger Woods which we can agree on and that he has shown incredible mental resilience to come back from so many injuries in his career. Most sports professionals have 2 or 3 serious injuries in their careers – as a former basketball professional I can confirm that in my case.
Tiger has had so many injuries it defies belief. The 46-year-old is currently playing in the US Masters in Augusta Georgia, and he is doing extremely well as I write this after two rounds. He is just 4 shots behind the leading players except for Scheffler from the US who is 9 ahead of Tiger and 4 ahead of every other player.
He demonstrates incredible Mental Resilience
In life as so many of you have heard me say before ‘It’s not what happens to you in life which counts, it’s how you respond which makes all the difference. Or to put it another way ‘It’s not how many times you get knocked down it’s how many times you get back up.
I know that Tiger has been responsible for some of the challenges he has faced but when you see the list of injuries and operations he has endured it is shocking. He is clearly one of the best golfers in history and his incredible mental strength is one of the key reasons behind his success.
He should not be playing
Woods broke his leg after rolling his car in a serious single-vehicle accident in California on February 23, 2021. He was forced to undergo surgery to fix two fractures in his right leg and a shattered ankle after his car flipped and rolled off the road.
The surgeon said: “Open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia. Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins. He may never get his mobility back and narrowly avoided having his leg amputated after the crash.”
A leading golf coach, Pete Cowen, predicts Woods is in for a long recovery. “The main thing is that he’s alive but he’s 45 and he’s going to have an 18-month rehab I would say,” said Cowen.
“A lot of people who have compound fractures don’t get the use of their legs back that well. You can definitely adapt but this a tough one. “There’s not only the playing of the shots but the walking. Five miles up hill and dale – God knows what that will be like for him.”
The history of Tiger’s injuries and operations
Tiger Woods is one of the greatest golfers in history, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing throughout his career.
The 46-year-old Woods announced Tuesday that “as of right now” he would play in the 2022 Masters Tournament, which begins with the opening round on Thursday. That comes nearly 14 months after he suffered significant injuries in a car accident.
Woods is no stranger to injuries, having dealt with plenty over the course of his career. The latest injuries, which included broken bones in both his legs, were nearly career-ending.
Here’s a recap of Woods’ lengthy injury history:
In 1994, while Woods was a student athlete at Stanford, he had two benign tumours and scar tissue removed from his left knee. Woods competed in his first Masters Tournament just a few months later in April of 1995, finishing tied for 41st as a 19-year-old amateur.
After years of health (and incredible success on the course), Woods had a brief setback in 2002. He had offseason surgery in December to remove fluid inside and outside his ACL. He also had benign cysts removed from his left knee.
The young star missed a few tournaments to begin 2003, but he won three of his first four events after returning. He didn’t win any major tournaments in 2003, the first year since 1998 that he went 0-for-4.
The real injury troubles began for Woods in 2007. In August of that year, he ruptured his ACL while running after the British Open. He played through the injury, winning five of his final six tournaments to close the season. Woods finished the year by winning the PGA Championship for his 13th major championship.
Woods opted against surgery for his 2007 knee injury, but he paid the price in 2008. He won three straight tournaments to begin the year, but he had arthroscopic knee surgery after finishing second at the Masters. A month later, doctors said he had two stress fractures in his left tibia.
In June, two months after his surgery and still clearly in pain from the tibia injuries, he won the U.S. Open – his last major win for 11 years. Woods finally had surgery to repair his left ACL after the tournament and he missed eight months of competition.
Months later in December, Woods ruptured his Achilles tendon while jogging. He played through the injury throughout 2009, reaggravating the tear several times.
Woods withdrew from The Players Championship in May due to a neck injury, which was later determined to be an inflamed facet joint.
Knee and Achilles injuries defined Woods’ 2011 season. In April, he strained his left Achilles while taking a swing at the Masters. He finished tied for fourth despite the injury. The following month, Woods again withdrew from The Players Championship after spraining his MCL in his left knee. The combination of injuries forced him to miss two months.
Woods was resurgent over the next two years, winning eight tournaments. He withdrew from the Cadillac Championship in March 2012 due to Achilles tightness. In June of 2013, he missed two tournaments due to an elbow strain. He later tweaked his back at The Barclays in August of 2013, causing him to drop to his knees in pain.
After two years of relative health, Woods’ luck turned for the worse. Back spasms forced him out of the Honda Classic, Cadillac Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational and Masters Tournament in 2014. He briefly returned over the summer months but missed the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with back pain.
In 2015, the back injuries continued for Woods. He withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open in February before returning for the Masters in April. He missed the cut in three of four majors in 2015 before having two microdiscectomy surgeries on his back in September.
Just a month later, he had another back surgery that was intended to relieve his discomfort. Woods didn’t return to golf for 16 months after the surgery.
Woods underwent a fourth back surgery in April of 2017, and this one was a success. He played in just one tournament in 2016 and 2017 before playing 18 events in 2018.
A neck strain forced Woods out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The injury didn’t hamper him at the 2019 Masters, though, which he won for his first major championship since 2008.
Woods had a fifth back surgery in December of 2020, another microdiscectomy to remove a bone fragment that was pinching a nerve.
He would have won many more majors
Many experts agree that Tiger is the second-best player in history behind Jack Nicklaus. Jack won 18 majors and Tiger 15 just three behind, with Jack Hagen next with 11 wins.
Jack Nicklaus never had a serious injury in his playing career. He did however suffer with a painful hip, but he said that it didn’t really interfere with his playing, and he never missed any tournaments because of it.
Can you imagine how many majors Woods could have won if he hadn’t had any serious injuries?? This really puts into perspective the incredible mental resilience Tiger possesses. Just look back again to see how many tournaments he had to miss because of injury.
Thoughts for the week.
- What is your mental resilience like in your tough times?
- Do you fight back against adversity, or do you give in?
- This week look at your life and your current challenges and try to use Tiger as a motivation to fight back on something you may have given up on.
Well that’s it for this week have a wonderful weekend and keep fighting.