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Fears for Woods future after latest injury setback

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Iain Carter | 20:09 UK time, Thursday, 12 May 2011

Tiger Woods's withdrawal from the Players' Championship through injury for the second year running is a huge blow for the former world number one.

Last year it was a neck problem that was soon cured, but this time it is more worrying for Woods's future. He suffered a recurrence of problems in his left knee and Achilles and clearly has no idea when and if they will be ever fully cured.

The 35-year-old has already undergone four operations on the knee and it is not as though his fitness problems are being caused in an overly freakish way. The injuries are being sustained by what he does to make a living - namely hitting golf shots.

Woods suffered his latest injuries taking an awkward swing playing from pine straw during his third round at the Masters in April. He suffered a minor sprain of medial collateral ligaments in his left knee and a minor sprain of his left Achilles.

These problems prompted him to withdraw from last week's tournament at Quail Hollow and now it has become clear that the difficulties in his left leg are more than "minor".

The 14-time major champion came into the Players' Championship with just nine holes of practice under his belt, and felt the problems return from the moment he struck his first tee shot here at Sawgrass.

It was painful to watch as he compiled a miserable six-over-par 42 for the nine holes he completed, walking slowly and well behind his playing partners between shots.

Ordinarily, he would be looking to play the Memorial tournament at the beginning of June before practising hard for the US Open later next month. His participation in both events now must be in severe jeopardy.

tigerwoods595.jpgWoods was clearly in some discomfort as he struggled at Sawgrass. Photo: Getty

"I'm having a hard time walking," Woods admitted after hobbling off the course. Is he back to square one with the injury? "I don't know. Give me a few days to see what the docs say."

Golfers routinely pick up niggles - it goes with the territory when you are repeatedly winding up your body with enough torque to propel a ball 300 yards - but Woods is proving more injury prone than most.

His early Sawgrass departure was far from a shock. In the build-up to the tournament, Golf Channel pundit Brandel Chamblee proved prescient with his remarks. "It's very likely he is going to re-injure himself playing this course," said the former PGA Tour player.

"It's kind of sad. We watched Tiger age so rapidly right before our eyes and maybe we'll watch Tiger Woods play where he's literally shuffling off the course. He's now kind of an old man out there and trying to rehearse moves that don't come naturally to him."

That final observation from Chamblee alludes to the re-modelled Woods swing which has not so much been developed to make him a better player (as he claims) but to give him a chance of playing shots that accommodate the weaknesses in his left leg.

The question now is whether Woods will be fit enough to return in time for the US Open at Congressional or if he has to take yet another prolonged absence from the game.

Even if he does, how certain can he be that his left leg will hold up when he does come back?

Former coach Butch Harmon has already said that he doesn't think Woods will appear at the year's second major near Washington next month.

It could be that he simply returned too soon to play here in Florida and that he has merely aggravated a perfectly curable problem.

Equally, he could be facing the biggest crisis of his career - one that has the potential to end his quest to overhaul Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 majors.

It could also be that the famed appetite to grind out a score when out of form or in discomfort is no longer there. I suspect that is not the case, but there is no doubting that he faces serious problems - physical or mental.

The impact of such uncertainty spreads further than the player himself. Even though he has now tumbled to number eight in the world rankings and is set to fall further, he remains the biggest calling card in the game.

Woods - even the post scandal-tainted version - is central to the mass appeal of golf and uncertainty over his future does not help the PGA Tour in the forthcoming process of negotiating television rights in the US.

Not that this will be uppermost in the mind of a player who utterly dominated the game for more than a decade. Right now, he must be wondering what more can go wrong in his life.


  • Comment number 1.

    Really............who cares............I'm preferring watching golf without him and watching the diversity of winners in world golf. I get sick and tired of Tiger this, Tiger that, Tiger sneezed, Tiger coughed!!!!!!!!!

    Was this much fuss made when Lee Westwood was out or Luke Donald or anyone else who has been injured, no, so why Tiger.

    He's had his day, I now think its time to look at the future. I predict Tiger will never win another major and I'm glad. Jack Nicholas is a legend and a gentleman and his major record deserves to stand. Just like in F1 where, Michael Schumacher may be statistically the most successful driver of all time, he isn't the most loved and idolised, Tiger is just the same in golf, winning isn't everything and in terms of an everlasting legend, he isn't a patch on Seve.

    Please stop reporting on Tigers latest dilemma because we just aren't interested any more.

  • Comment number 2.

    Ill tell you exactly why Jason, because Tiger Woods has won 14 Majors, and is the greatest sportsman of the last 20 years. Westwood 0 Donald 0.

    I am interested in Tiger as he is a great player and obviously people are else they wouldnt report on it...

    Go to bed, your just groggy!!!

  • Comment number 3.

    Nice to see others get a chance to shine. . Every dog has his day and it looks like Tiger's had his.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Shortly afterwards he became embroiled in a sex scandal that forced him to take five months out of the game and ultimately led to a divorce from his wife.

    Why does every report about Tiger Woods say the above statement.... Really did have affairs I didn't know .......... anyone else heard about the Tiger Woods sex scandal? Wish reporters would just focus on the golf, if I wanted to read about sex scandals I would buy the news of the world!

  • Comment number 6.

    RobSouthBAnk, while I would agree with you that Tiger Woods is a great player of the game of golf.... the best sportsman of the last 20 years???? There are pleanty of other sports with their greats whose achievements outshine Woods not only for trophies but because they are great people as well. Take Tennis for example.

    I would rate both Pete Sampras and Roger Federer ahead of Woods. Its not just about wining things its about how you play the game. Woods can play the game for sure but he is simply not a sportsman. The way he carries himself and portrays himself are not that of a great man but of a spoilt child.

    In any case you reap what you sow. In effect he was a GREAT golfer until a certain incident which the BBC will not allow me to comment on for fear of being sued... see above removed post

  • Comment number 7.

    Greatest sportsman of the past twenty years - Tendulkar fans would disagree. And I've never seen him spit on the wicket.

  • Comment number 8.

    torque not torc. computers don't spell everything correctly.

  • Comment number 9.

    jason sayimg you are glad that a persons career is potentially ended by injury is distasteful. i wouldnt wish injury on any sportsman amateur or professional and love watching Tiger when he's winning. just like Federer or any other great they have an aura and find it fascinating watching them in the zone

  • Comment number 10.

    Jason don't be so quick to write Tiger off and disown his as quickly as that. The reason you are seeing so many diverse players is because of the impact Tiger has had for golf. He has propelled the game to higher than it ever was, it shows with the absence of him during his time off, and how the tv ratings dived. Every sport has there talisman and even though Tiger may have done some bad things in his personal life - he has only ever helped the game of golf and made it one of the leading sports; And for that he should be commended and not insulted!

  • Comment number 11.

    The point is... Will we see Tiger Dominate the Game of Golf again?.. Even Tiger doesnt believe he can... There is too much pressure on him to come out of the "post-marriage" shell and with the likes of Rory, Luke, Fowler and the old guard playing so well he knows he may never reach the golden figure of 19 Majors!!....

    One bad shot from Tiger and we all fear the worst.... Lets look and treat him like a new comer on the golf scene... Maybe he will as well... Then we may.. just may see history repeat itself...

  • Comment number 12.

    Maybe this is the golfing gods exacting revenge on a misguided arrogant man who seems to show no respect for people around him

  • Comment number 13.

    I didnt realise so many people on here had lived perfect lives and never got anything wrong. We all know the bad stories but look at the golf and the golf achievements. Tiger playing well is what we love to see. Surely on a sporting front people want to see the best of peoples ability especially when he is one of the best of all time, possibly the best or are we happy watching the also rans beat injured / out of form great.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think people are missing an important point here - perhaps Tiger Woods was the greatest golfer that ever lived because of the way he swang the golf club and the way he went to the gym to develop his body.

    Now perhaps that same swing and gym work have resulted in the severe shortening of his career to more like a rugby player, about 35, rather than golfers in the past who could play till they were nearly 50 at the top of the game.

    He has certainly transformed the conditioning of all the professional golfers now on the Tour - all go to the gym and work out (except Cabrera ;-)) - and there seem to be a lot more golfers missing tournaments through injury now - the two are surely related.

    I think golfers are now 'over conditioned' for what the sport requires - Tiger is just the highest profile victim of a phenomenon that he started and which gave him the edge for about 10 years.

  • Comment number 15.

    Unfortnately Tiger is now reaping the " fruits " of how he has swung the golf club over the last 25 years . His swing has pushed his body to the extreme and now he is 35yoa it is beginning to catch up with him . I agree - he needs to find a swing that will enable him to play at the " Top Level" for longer .

    Sadly the same thing happened to Seve - he had terrible back problems which started to affect him in his 30s .

  • Comment number 16.

    How is woods the greatest ever, hes not even near to beating the greatest ever jacks record.

    Woods is 4 majors away from equaling it, which is becoming ever more increasingly unlikly that he will win another tournament let alone a major.

    Greatest sportsmen in the last 20 years???calzaghe, federer, nadal, armstrong, phelps would diagree with that.

    Woods off course antics may be bad, but his cursing, spitting, club throwing is beyond the pale.

    I am enjoying golf far more without eldrick playing. Long may that continue.

  • Comment number 17.

    Tiger Woods changed the game of golf forever by raising the bar to a different level & this is acknowledged by his fellow pro's. From 1997 - 2007 the guy was invincible & no other golfer on the planet could get near him. See if you can win the US Open at Pebble Beach by 15 shots or play 72 holes around St Andrews without putting it in one bunker - Credit where it is due.

    However, since the death of his father he has lost control of his life & subsequently his golf. Unfortunately his regime over the years has caught up with him & his body is no longer up to it. Like most professional sportsman, he is finished at the top level at age 35 & that is a great shame. He'll never win another tournament, let alone another major & Jack's record will now remain intact forever.

    I predict that he will announce his retirement from the professional game within the next year & will concentrate on his children & the Tiger Woods foundation. However, rather than knock him please recognise his achievements & the leagcy he will leave behind him. Millions of Children around the world now play the game because they want to be Tiger Woods.

  • Comment number 18.

    I think everybody is missing the fact that 2009 was really the turning point year.
    After coming back from the injuries at torrey pines, he played some amazing golf, yet didn't win a major. Any other time, he would have won two. At the end of the year, his personal life collapsed, falls out with his coach and starts to play and talk like golf is a job. Simply put, no-one is intimidated any more.

  • Comment number 19.

    Mark, Woods may have been the best golfer around between 1997 and 2007 but he was far from invincible.

  • Comment number 20.

    Put a young Nicklaus into today's modern game, with the clubs being so much more an aid (tell me how is it right that you can drive a hole !!!!!), or on courses now set up with less rough, and he would still thrive.

    Put Woods back into an era where the technology was prehistoric compared to today, the rough was exactly that. Would he have thrived then ?

    Yes he has natural talent but compared him to Nicklaus ?

    Not in the same league

  • Comment number 21.

    Its ashame, love him or loathe him everyone wants to say they watched the greatest. Hopefully this is not the end.

  • Comment number 22.

    Who cares about him ... I cannot understand anyone who still could be interested. Long before the scandals he was distant from his fans, throwing his clubs and spitting his way around the course. Surrounded by minders, offering platitudes and raking in a billion dollars almost ,,,, So what he created a foundation ,,,, I should think he would have to with all that money because everyone else does.

    He will never be in the same league as the legends of the game who conducted themselves with civility, class, and who had a charisma that Woods can only dream about.

    I guess a lot of grown up people still need someone to hero worship ,,,, shame they cannot find a better person ,,,

  • Comment number 23.

    You would think it was an artical written about General Mao's or Joseph Stalin's latest injury setback with some of the comments posted on here.

    Shame that people can't just appreciate an absolute freak of a sportsman and ONE OF THE GREATEST (don't try and compare different eras/generations it's ridiculous) golfers ever, who as has been said, has inspired a generation of kids to take up the sport.

    Would have liked to seen him get 19 majors but seems he won't get close now. @ Dickie: no sportsman is invincible, but this guy was the closest I've seen at his prime, in a sport like golf where you are constantly against a field of 100 or so (unlike a 1 on 1 or team on team sport) his dominance and intimidation you won't see again from a golfer. Its a hard thing for a guy to effect those around him so much without actually being able to have any influence on what they are doing.

    There are different types of legends (some you love, some you hate). Either way this guy is and always will be one

  • Comment number 24.

    A Golfer can only be compared with the people who he competed against during his career. To compare Woods to Nicklaus or Young Tom Morris to Harry Vardon is rediculous because it is not possible to come to a sensible conclusion as to who was the better golfer. Instead why not categorise golfers in to there respective eras and make decisions as to who was the greatest from that time period.

    Will Tiger Woods pass Jack Nicklaus's landmark 18 majors? It's hard to say, but to rule him out of ever winning another Major is rediculous. Take his form since his last Major win in the 2008 US Open and it reads like this: T6, T6, MC, 2, T4, T4, T23, T28, T4. (He did not play The Open/PGA in 08). Looking at that, you can hardly rule him out of winning another major can you? If any other player had displayed that kind of form over the last 3 years we would all be saying "It's only a matter of time before he wins a major".

    This latest injury development is definetly a set back but it is by no means impossible for Tiger to overcome these problems. Yes the way he swings the golf club will undoubtabley cause his carear to end before most pro's and is part of the reason why he has suffered these injurys but in any sport, if you strive for "perfection" you must push the human body beyond its limits.

    Personaly, I'm going to keep be keeping a close eye on Tiger because if/when he does win that next major its likely to be off a price of atleast 14/1, maybe more. I suggest you guys do the same as that will be a very happy pay day!

  • Comment number 25.

    Calzaghe!?! Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

  • Comment number 26.

    a couple of "who cares" comments which I really don't understand. He's one of the biggest stars in the world - pretty much everyone cares! You clearly care too because you've read the blog and commented on it. He's the biggest draw in golf by a LOOOONG way, if he's not playing because of injury then expect people to write about it.

  • Comment number 27.

    Interesting take on tiger, but I also think he will never catch up to Jack's record...this blogger does a good job explaining why:

  • Comment number 28.

    I agree with the sentiments expressed about Woods the man - always an arrogant unlovable character from day one - but one heck of a golfer & certainly ONE of the top sports players (I wouldn't call him a sportsman because he wasn't) of the last 20 years.Deserves to be ranked up there with Jack and other golfing greats as a player. In the US I'd say Michael Jordan (NBA) or Wayne Gretzky (NHL) was the greatest in the last 20 years - but there are several others in other sports right up there.

  • Comment number 29.

    Walks1965, read my post again, I don't care if he doesn't win another major or tournament for that matter, but, I do not want his career to be ended by injury and you're right it's not a nice thing to say, which is why I didn't say that.

    I used to love watching the man at work, but, especially on Sky, TW has become an obsession, David Livingstone cannot go more than 5 minutes without mentioning his name.

    Yes finances and maybe the near future of the PGA Tour depends on Tigers fitness and success, but this shouldn't be the case and the Tour only have themselves to blame for this.

    Which is why, week in week out I prefer watching the European Tour rather than the advert laden, one dimentional PGA Tour, with its "hero" who doesn't even like his own fans.

  • Comment number 30.

    The BBC couldn't resist eh? So obsessed with him.

    I bet some people at Wood Lane can't wait for Tiger to die.

    So he had an affair, big deal, so long as he's not a drug-taker or paedophile who really cares? I bet that a few people at the BBC have done worse, yet nobody dare to criticse them ;)

  • Comment number 31.

    Tiger was an incredible golfer and therefore people overlooked his bad behaviour on the course. His off course behaviour and injuries contributed to him being just a very good golfer and people were then willing to criticise his on course behaviour.

    Nobody is indispensable and golf will move on.

    Tiger has a decision to make. He has to recognise he may never be a great golfer again, but maybe, he could become a great person.

    Unfortunately, I am not holding my breadth.

  • Comment number 32.

    Hang on a second, it's only a couple of weeks since he was nearly winning the Masters, swinging it well and looking good. But we'll see. Regardless, he's the greatest golfer of the modern game. By a million miles. What he did in 97/02 - the Tiger slam, 8 majors in 5 years, winning at Augusta by 12, at Pebble by 15, at St Andrews by 8 - this was sustained supernova and I'd be amazed if we ever again see anything even close to it. And that's without even mentioning the awesome number of total career tournament wins and his other 6 majors. Legend. Forget about him not being a 'good bloke' - who cares? That's as nothing compared to the on course achievements. I'm a golf fan, that's why I turn the TV on to watch it. Robert Rock's a nice chap apparently.

  • Comment number 33.

    I am sick of hearing how Tiger transformed golf , how the young players are only there because of Tiger. How they all go to the gym because of Tiger.. well Tiger had jack Nicklauses poster on his wall, he was his inspiration, Gary player was a gym fanatic holds 9 majors from a little known town in South Africa and remember nIck Faldo used to spend hours in the gym punishing himself . those young kids out here now would still be out there , it isnt Tiger who dragged them, they get spoon fed the question , who was your hero growing up and they say of course Tiger cos he was the most successful, but ask the two south africans who hold majors today who do they look up to , its Ernie Els. get over Tiger, he WAS great and maybe for 6 years from 2000 - 2006 , the best there ever was in terms of scoring and winning oh yes and spitting.. his winning margings prove that. But just listen to the reformed Tiger being interviewed after the masters, have you ever heard an interview that was so flat, so sullen, so insolent, so bereft of any courtesy to a inetrviewer than the one Tiger gave, just compare it to the interview a devetated Mc Ilroy gave , or Ricky Fowler or Grame Mc Dowell gave or any other young golfer out there, they sure didnt learn their interview technique from the most sullen man on planet golf.
    The king is gone long live the king,, who ever that maybe . I hope Tigers knee gets better and he plays again, will he break JAcks record, I hope not.

  • Comment number 34.

    Having read all these posts it is obvious there is a wide variety of feelings towards Tiger, mine go something like this. As a golfer he is unrivalled in the modern game, he is the only player who realistically had/has any chance of getting close to Jack's record of majors, personally i dont mind whether he does equal or pass Jack's 18 because they will both always be regarded as greats of the game, in different era's. Just as in other sports it isn't fair or plausible to compare players from era's where equipment/course design/psychology/physical conditioning have changed so much. I am inclined to agree with a few of the comments that suggest modern golfers suffer more injuries because they are over conditioned, some unfortunate individuals will always suffer from recurring injuries i.e. Seve, Olazabel, Price all had injuries which have restricted there undoubtedly talented careers.
    As a person it is hard to have much sympathy for Tiger, he has created an auror around himself that has assisted his domination of the game, but in doing so has made him look machine like at times and has distanced himself from reality. I dont think its right to consider his 'family problems' in here as this is about sport, it has clearly had a big effect on Tiger but everybody makes mistakes and everybody deserves the chance to make right those errors and move on.
    For me the negative image of the man does taint his ability and record, but i still love watching him play golf, i hope he recovers and can find his confidence on the course again.

  • Comment number 35.

    Wow, perverse to suggest watching golf is better without Woods!??
    Even more perverse to suggest he's not one of the best sportsmen of the last 20 years.

    Pretty much watched Federer and Woods every moment of the last 15 years - while their numbers both speak of a similar dominance, Tiger has been better at the art of winning, after all tennis is prone to dominance, golf not. Winning a golf major is that bit harder than a tennis slam, particularly doing it on one leg in 08. And while he hasn't had the charm of Roger, he's always had an x-factor than Roger hasn't, much more iconic. A shame if it ends in injury.

  • Comment number 36.

    I think it depends on how your belief is formed in what makes a great sportsman-If you are basing it purely on the sport and how the individual performs in that chosen sport than Tiger would be one of the best sportsman of the last 20 years. If you are basing it on their behaviours, role model behaviour then Tiger would be one of the worst.
    I personally am caught in the middle, would i want my son to turn round on the golf course and say look Dad i can hit the ball like Tiger then great, if he said look Dad i am Tiger Woods then i would get him to role model on somebody else.

  • Comment number 37.

    Let's be honest, he is no great loss at the moment! Tiger's 'visage' of perfect role model in life and golf has come crashing down around him and he has been unable to rebuild the mantra; as a result of a lack of true personal fulfillment (and the perspective that can give a man) and an ageing body that has been ravaged by years of excess - pounding the road, in the gym and playing top level golf! He needs to re-assess. When he stops swearing excessively, spitting on the course, giving bland, arrogant interviews and gives us some true insight into the 'real' Tiger, I might start to wish for him to recoup his lost magic and play some great golf; not like an 'all conquering winning machine' - for those days are LONG gone - but, like a mature man who is more philosophical about life and makes me 'yearn' for him to succeed and be happy in the way Watson, Nicklaus or Mickelson et al do!

  • Comment number 38.

    One needs to separate the 'role model' aspect from the assessment of his sporting greatness; the latter being purely and simply about his achievements in professional golf. On that basis, he's 'de man' - this is indisputable. As a role model, he's good on hard work and single-minded dedication to the maximising of talent - as George Best, for example, wasn't - but not so good (downright bad in fact) on things like good manners and humility and family values. If this causes someone not to root for him, actively root against him even, that's very fine and understandable ... it's not mandatory to be a big Tiger fan as I am ... but let's not get that conflated with whether or not he's an all time sporting great on the top (Ali, Pele, Nicklaus, Bradman etc) shelf. He is.

  • Comment number 39.

    A lot of players spit and swear on the course, but the cameras always catch Tiger doing it. We don't like to see it , but that's Tiger. As for the majors, he needs to win as many as Seve did to get past Jack. He still has a great game, but the others are just not going to back down on Sunday afternoons. He could win two in a row one year, but to catch Jack now is not going to be easy. Tiger set that target, so if he fails I hope he doesn't try to point the finger at anyone. The Tiger Slam of 2000/2001 was his peak. He won the 1999 PGA, came third or fourth in the 2000 Masters then won the next four majors. Completely dominated the game for 18 months with a three wood fade that set it all up for him. Once the putter started to go off the boil , he started to lose more than win. Who knows what he will do from here.

  • Comment number 40.

    I've really enjoyed reading most of these posts.
    Where have all the sycophants gone?
    I have nothing more to add other than it was obvious to me in 1995 that Eldrick would fizzle out if for no other reason than he swung his cartilages off in the mid-nineties.

  • Comment number 41.

    Oh, that came over really stupid.
    What I meant to say was..... by the *late-naughties* not the mid-nine,,,,,,,,,! Oh Bu*^er it!

  • Comment number 42.

    Woods was a great player, although never a great person. Now his days at the top are over, and it i time to move on.

    Tiger was over-hyped by the media, and if ratings have dropped it is the fault of .... guess who? The media.

    The top players furing the years that Tiger won so much were psyched out of it ... partly because Tiger made so many unbelievable shots, and partly by the media. Tiger was built up into this media darling who was unbeatable, and they believed it.

    The new crop of young players are fearless, and Tigers frailties (physical & mental) are showing. I alo do not believe he will win another major, and will never equal the record set by Jack Nicklaus.

    Golf is far more interesting to watch now, for three main reasons :

    1 ) We have more winners, and more players in contention.

    2 ) As "Tiger" is now simply a house cat, we do not have the networks focusing 90% of their airtime on every breath he takes, so actually see MORE of the golf. Seeing LESS of Woods has the added benefits, which are reason #3

    3 ) We are subjected to less of his idiotic "fans" (who mostly know zip about golf) screaming "GET IN THE HHHOOOOOLLLLEEE !!" before the ball has even left the clubface and also not being subjected to his sulky look and dragging lower lip every time the ball does not do what his "fans" demanded of it. Also less of him spitting and slamming clubs into the ground in anger.

    All we need now is for the media to realise that their "darling" is finished, ad report less on his eploits and more on what is actually happening and of interest in the world of golf.

    Thank for the entertainment, "Tiger" .... you made billions, now go off and sleep in front of the fire like the house cat you have become, and let us have more news on the current cream of the crop. Your job is done and your day is over.

    I, for one, do not actually miss him.

  • Comment number 43.

    Also the problem with Tiger, is, Tiger!!!! I'm Tiger Woods, role model, married man, father, health freak, recluse, clean living guy, moralist, only 2nd to god, craps rose petals and makes fluffy bunnies appear from nowhere...........big bubble to burst wasn't it.

    The likes of George Best etc never professed to be anything but what they were, flawed geniuses, they never put across an image of ultimate perfection only to completely lie to the whole world.

    If Tiger had lived his life and had been honest about his off the course activities, his feelings about the fans, the game etc etc then maybe he would have been held in higher esteem, but he made out he was perfect and it was all a lie.

    From that moment on, my feelings for Tiger inc changed to the view I have now.

  • Comment number 44.

    In my view Woods is/was the best golfer who ever lived, though I disliked his behaviour on the course and have always felt his personality didn't matched his golf. But what a terrible upbringing he had: he had no real school friends because he was off to the golf course as soon as school finished each day. He had a dominant father, who, with the local pro, were his only friends. How can one expect him to be at all "normal" in those circumstances? I think one has to feel sorry for such a man, whatever glories he won at golf.

  • Comment number 45.

    Sorry to see so many people having a go at Tiger, now he is looking vulnerable. Tiger Woods is a phenomenon, a once in a generation event, a force of golfing nature and we have been privileged to be there to see it. Many of the posts have majored on his personality as lacking and his moral judgement as less than spotless. Flawed human being ? Yes, aren't we all? Hypocrite? Maybe. Best golfer in a generation by a mile? No contest and I am a Jack fan until my dying day.

  • Comment number 46.

    @ Fraser Trivett I would argue that the reason we have such diversity in terms of the nationalities represented in the Top Ten, or even the Top 20, is more to do with Seve Ballesteros and not Tiger Woods. Before Seve blew through European golf like a breath of fresh air, European/ROW golfers were, with some notable exceptions (namely Peter Thompson, Tony Jacklin, Greg Norman, Gary Player), 'also rans' in a steady stream of American golfers. I am not a Tiger fan, okay, but I acknowledge he is one of the greatest players the world has ever seen, but let's not credit him with being responsible for golf's renaissance if you will. Over the past week, many former rivals of Seve's and/or team mates of Seve's credited him with pulling European golf up by its boot-straps. When the European team was downcast after narrowly losing to the US in 1983, Seve snapped them out of it and told them to look at how much closer they had come than they had in a long time (True, it had been GB &Ire until 1981). In 1985, Europe won and they have hardly looked back. I would use the following to show why IMHO Tiger isn't worthy of tying Seve's shoe laces and it is this. Last year, the European team were addressed by Seve and they were moved by him, motivated by him and some, if not all, would say they played for him. In years to come, I dount Tiger would inspire a US team in the same way - if at all. From what I have seen, Tiger is not a team man. There is no 'I' in Seve (okay, there is in Severiano), but there is in Tiger and it's a big 'I'. As for Tiger being the "greatest sportsman of the past twenty years" as someone posted, give me a break.

  • Comment number 47.

    Some allege to unequivocally understand Tiger Woods; purporting him as arrogant, void of charisma and sullen-like. Perhaps it would be true to say that the notion of Tiger Woods is but an abstract hollow figure, projected by the media into a hazy abyss: one that we cannot truthfully comprehend. Sour outbursts do nothing but propose preposterous and infantile examinations of a man so obscure to our own realities. I do not regard myself to be in a position to judge the man other than the golfing records he holds aloft; and they are self-evident. Indeed, I am confident in exclaiming my fascination with Tiger Woods, he encapsualtes all that the very pinnacle echelon of golfing competition can offer. Yes, he spits, throws clubs, and I have been within a matter of inches as he teases out 'naughty' words. Such actions reveal an ongoing pursuit of perfection, which in itself is a joy to watch. I don't believe our murmurs should be so reactionary, nor should they focus upon the personal life of many have revealed the hypocrisy that lays with. I had thought that Tiger's overwhelming triumphant career would be enough to halt any bitterness, but perhaps not. I for one hope his knee mends and a string of W's parade in the face of those who clearly opt to shut their eyes to such a sportsman.

  • Comment number 48.

    Keith Miller @ 46

    I'm a big Ballesteros fan too but what you're doing there is confusing European golf (and Ryder Cup) with golf in general. You're doing a Monty. There's no question that Woods has galvanised the world game like no-one else. As for 'give me a break' re TW as the greatest sportsman of the last 20 years, you write as if the suggestion is not so much arguable (which of course it is with contenders such as Maradona, Bolt, Schumacher, Federer et al) but rather absurd. It isn't absurd; there's a compelling case for Tiger as top dog. He utterly dominated, for more than a decade, a sport which cannot be dominated. A major global individual sport. Your dislike of the person (or, with a nod to post 47, the person you think he is) is interfering with your judgement of sporting achievement.

  • Comment number 49.

    Flux Redux, I'm afraid I have to agree with the first sentence of your 41 post - and not because of the typo. He's 'fizzled out' after 14 majors in as many years? That's quite some fizzle. Unless you were joking of course, being sardonic and stuff, in which case it's quite funny and please accept my apologies.

  • Comment number 50.

    I agree with those who have said that golf is much better to watch if Woods is not playing because when he's in a tournament most of the time is spent watching him and the replays of his shots. Maybe his manufactured game has finally done for him physically.

    I wouldn't care if he never picked up another club in fact I would be delighted to see the back of Woods who in my opinion does not behave as a sporting great should.

    Give me Seve anytime. Now there's a true legend in sport.

  • Comment number 51.

    Tiger Woods is/was an excellent golfer. His record can stand up to any scrutiny. As to his personality, well it takes all sorts in any walk of life. We all can't be the life and soul of the party. I remember Nick Faldo when he was playing and the media at the time compared him to being a robot when playing. And he didn't have the personality/Character of a Seve or an Ian Woosnam.
    As to Tiger's injury, only the doctors will know what is best for him. And if he listens to their advice? which will be to rest and maybe an operation/s to help alleviate the problems he has at the moment. But only if he listens, and with the need to win mentality Tiger has, he may not.
    I see people here saying Tiger has done the Grand Slam of golf. He hasn't, the only person recognised as doing the Grand Slam in 1 calendar year is Bobby Jones. The year 1930. And he is officially the only one to ever have achieved this feat. And he was an Amateur. He never turned Pro.

  • Comment number 52.

    Tiger as golfer - brilliant - undeniably one of top sporting talents ever.
    Tiger as sportsman - not as classy as some (Payne Stewart, Mickleson) but comparable with some of ours? (Monty, Faldo, Sergio on their bad days?)
    Tiger as a family man - he clearly struggled with that, but note Peter Alliss says there were guys worse than Tiger in his day - it has always gone on, but went unreported.
    It could be that like Seve he has wrecked his body for good but I could foresee Tiger only playing majors from now on and if his putter gets hot again - who knows?

  • Comment number 53.

    Well this story is very disheartening! i mean i have been lucky enough to play with Tiger or Big T as he asked me to call him and he is the nicest guy i have ever met accept craig bellamy. Big T is the best golfer ever and hits the ball sweeter than a lemon sherbert. When he gets his form back he will over take the major record and go on to win about 47 majors. I truely believe in Big T as he is a true inspiration to man kind. LEGEND!!!

  • Comment number 54.

    I feel for Tiger. To be fair, if I had fame, fortune, wealth and a fully loaded weapon I too would have done what he did with oh so many women. He is by far and large the best naturally gifted Golfer to ever walk the planet. Sure, you have Palmer etc, but they seldom competed in a field with as much competitive talent as Tiger has had to deal with throughout his career. The media certainly have a field day over Woods, the 'Rise and fall' is an easy and adaptable story used as a manipulative machine to produce, distribute and promote readership. When I was a little lad in Scotland, Tiger actually stayed in my room with me when competing shortly after he turned pro. He was a lovely bloke, forever praising me for my good looks and good looking golf swing, he was ever the gentleman and even paid for my dinner that evening. Don't knock the big T as one other poster has called him, harness him, embrace him and more importantly appreciate the spectacle of a world class talent whilst he still has and remote signs of Tiger magic in his veins. Alex Taylor, Southwold England.

  • Comment number 55.

    To the poster above! i completely understand and agree with everything you have said, as i menetioned he is the most genuine guy i have ever had the pleasure to meet and greet. However unlike you i havent had the pleasure to share the same room as him. I think i would find this to hard to handle as i would not be able to control my urges. Your a better man than I. Big T - Hero. Tom Brown, Diss, England

  • Comment number 56.

    Look folks here's one for u all, we want to see tigger play to his best, so that when rory, gmac, Luke and lee best him we will know that these guys have the game.......and they are ready for it. YE Yang did it for 18 holes which I firmly believe put more of a dent in his armour than any martial or of course issues ever did. Thoughts?

  • Comment number 57.

    I have enjoyed reading many of these posts and think there are some very interesting points.

    My view is that Tiger is certainly the best golfer of MY generation (I am mid-twenties) and have grown up watching Tiger from when I first started playing golf 15 years ago. I cannot really comment on the comparison with Jack, because I have never seen Jack playing at the peak of his powers.
    I do however have a problem with people doubting Tiger's natural ability - saying he only got close to Jack's record because of technology meaning he could hit it further is not fair on the man
    With regards to Tiger's personality issues - he has not always been this way and during the early part of his career during the early 2000's he was a journalist's dream, giving frank and honest interviews with charisma in bundles! It is only since he became the biggest sports star on the planet in the mid/late 2000's (highest paid sportsman in the world during this time) that his relationships with fans and the media has become strained. I remember watching on TV as he had to be escorted down the fairways of a british open course (can't remember which one off the top of my head)and an interview he gave where he lamented not being able to go to the shops for fear of a media storm - so is it any wonder that he has become distant to the media.
    I must admit, the way he treats fans I find dispicable. You watch a model professional like Phil Mickelson who spends hours after a round has finished signing autographs and speaking to kids and their parents, and how Tiger treats those who pay good money to watch him is unforgivable.
    I think it is a shame if this injury is the end of his career because he has given me many happy memories of watching golf "teriffic Tiger Triumphs in Tulsa" sticks out off the top of my head. But if you swing a golf club like he does, it is no surprise that the body will pick up injuries

  • Comment number 58.

    Re: "Greatest sportsman of the last twenty years:"

    Steve Redgrave, 5 time rowing Olympic gold medalist. No-one else had ever won 4 consecutive golds in an endurance event (his rowing partner, Matt Pinsent now has four). Steve won five!

  • Comment number 59.

    In reply to post 50, there is nothing manufactured about Tigers golf game. He has more natural talent than most of the players out there. He is probably the only golfer post Seve who hits shots that the other pros ask how on earth did he manage that.
    Tiger will have to live with himself so whatever his actions and however he behaves he is the one that has to look in the mirror every night.
    I was and always will be a huge Seve fan and Tiger playing golf at his best is the only thing that comes close and the sooner he is back to his best the better because golf needs Tiger playing well.
    And in reply to the guy who said that Tiger hasn't revolutionised golf then you should ask a top 125 PGA Tour pro who is it that is most responsible for them earning over $1m a year. Ask Nike who is singularly responsible for turning their golf division into the company it is today.
    Ask TV companies how much their audience figures go up whenever Tiger plays in a tournament. Go to the Open and just watch how many people are following Tiger at 7.30 on one of his practice rounds. Then when you've got your answer tell me another golfer that comes close to doing all of the above.

  • Comment number 60.

    @ 56

    Yes good point. The game is enhanced if all the best are there. I'd just replace your 'when' with if' though (re the likes of Westwood beating him).

    @ 58

    Redgrave's achievements are indeed remarkable but they're in rowing.

  • Comment number 61.

    I have to agree about Tiger Woods and the things are constantly said about him. Its time to move on and think about the rest of the golfing world and compliment them. I really get fed up when he playing and can be 6 back and the cameras have to follow him all the time with the commintators telling us all the same old things time after time.
    I agree he won 14 majors but he threw everything away because in his words he was rich and famous and thought he could get away it!!!! Grow up and leave golf and enjoy your millions.

  • Comment number 62.

    best player of my generation.. as a teenager, all ever wanted to do was emulate his swing and success.. legend and i hope he comes back and shuts up all you useless golfers who couldnt walk a yard in his shoes

  • Comment number 63.

    All I can say is first time I haven't bothered watching The Players since about '98 which tells the story. Not the same without Tiger and if it hadn't been for him Donald, Westwood et al. would need to be a lot more successful (ie win Majors) to earn the money they currently do on the (US / European) Tour gravy train

  • Comment number 64.

    For me Tiger Woods' win in the 2008 US Open was truly inspirational, the courage and heart he showed to win his 14th Major may well have been a bridge too far on his body. I've suffered from knee issues too and to endure that electric pain after every shot, to hit each shot knowing it's coming AND to commit 100% on them all - well it was one of the best sporting endevours of all time.

    Off the course, how can any man say for certain he would have done differently? You're rich, famous and handsome & women want you? It shows he's human that's all. His actions cannot take away from his golfing ability.

    I for one will also be very interesting into reading his biography or an insight into his mental processes if he one day discusses it.. for this he is simply the best -the concentration, mental imaging, dealing with pressure (does he feel pressure?) & then execution. I wonder sometimes that maybe he doesn't feel pressure because he feels it is his destiny to win - he was born to win.

  • Comment number 65.

    i'm really not that interested in golf.....but i think it would be nice for jack nicklaus to remain at the top of the tree. he is such a tremendous role model.

    i would not mind woods winning another major sometime, but i hope he never catches nicklaus.

    woods seems like a psychologically 'driven' automaton, and has no grace at all when things are not going his way.

    i also hate the way commentators fawn on his every move, and how this means that his presence always usurps the spotlight.

    i hope my hunch is right that he is one of those ego-driven types that once they fall from the lofty peaks of achievement....they tend not to cope too well with the slide back down, and quickly exit the picture, rather than have to see endure the humiliation of being thought of as a has-been.

  • Comment number 66.

    TV golf is nothing without Tiger.

  • Comment number 67.

    Tiger Woods is already a legend, he will be remembered for some of his truely amazing golf shot not his personal life. I would love to see Tiger make it to 19 but that is a target no one will hit i fear. The game of golf will decline without the presence of the great Tiger Woods. The current No1 has not won a major what does that say for the game, i believe that if an English man was to win one, the english media would forget about Woods. Also the media have alot to answer for with their freedom of speach when someones life is in the hands of an individual with a laptop and an editor with a target to hit. Greed pushes people to do stupid things but so does fame, imagine not being able to go to the shop or a pub without some idiot coming over to you like he's been your friend for years? The legend of Woods will never be forgotten but his mistakes will!

  • Comment number 68.

    Why did Tigers game drop so much and not regain at least most of his play ? he put so much into the practise and application, I always used him as an example of a dedicated player not over weight trim and focused. It seems like his whole body and his energy level plus injury recovery time completely changed.
    His personality was never great , his temper almost out of control, but most put it down to being so competitive, there may be something elase entirely at play here.


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