TIGER WOODS is not just out of next month’s Open, but also the Ryder Cup in September and all golf for the rest of the year.
So now nobody can question that the world number one’s US Open victory on Monday was one of the most amazing achievements ever in sport.
It was announced last night that Woods has a double stress fracture of his left tibia and needs anterior cruciate ligament surgery.
Staggeringly, Woods knew about the fracture before grabbing the 14th major of his career in a play-off against fellow American Rocco Mediate.
“I knew much was made about my knee throughout the last week and it was important to me that I disclose my condition publicly at an appropriate time,” said the 32-year-old in a statement.
“I wanted to be very respectful of the USGA (United States Golf Association) and their incredibly hard work and make sure the focus was on the US Open.
“Now it is clear that the right thing to do is listen to my doctors, follow through with this surgery and focus my attention on rehabilitating my knee.”
The statement added that the stress fracture was discovered last month just before the Memorial tournament in Ohio. That was due to be Woods’ comeback from the knee surgery he underwent two days after coming second in The Masters in April.
But the fact that he then decided to play at Torrey Pines, a course where he has now won five times in a row, simply defies belief.
Repeatedly during the five days of the event — the US Open play-off is over 18 holes and with both players still tied at the end of that it went to another hole — Woods was in agony.
The caddie of Robert Karlsson, who played with Woods in the third round, told Paul Casey that there were even noises coming from the knee as Woods swung.
“He said there was a moment, I think on the 18th, where he stepped up to hit his tee shot and backed off because of weird noises,” Casey stated yesterday.
“They all chuckled and he said ‘I shouldn’t hit this one too hard’. He got it in play and made eagle! Amazing. I think he’s so focused on his goal, beating Jack’s record (Nicklaus has 18 majors), and he battled through it. It shows how determined he is to beat that record.”
It will presumably be next April’s Masters that he resumes his quest to catch and overtake Nicklaus, but the seriousness of the situation must even leave a question mark over that until he makes a complete recovery from the reconstructive surgery on his knee.His doctors have assured him, meanwhile, that his stress fractures will fully heal in time.
How well America can do without him in the Ryder Cup remains to be seen. Woods has played in the last five matches, but four of those have been European wins and he makes no secret of the fact that he does not consider the match as important as the majors.
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