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Tiger Woods Is Inhuman

Posted by Matt on June 18, 2008

The legend is growing by the hour, only days after the man they call Tiger gutted out a one stroke, playoff victory over Rocco Mediate in the U.S. Open that included 91 holes of golf.

Woods had arthroscopic knee surgery on April 15, 2008 and had not played a full round of 18 in two months when he laced up his Nike golf cleats on Day One of the championship of this great nation. After grinding out a victory while wincing along the way, speculation began to rise regarding the severity of Tiger’s injury.

But then came the news. The news that Woods would be ending the season to undergo a third operation on the notorious left knee. Surprisingly enough, that wasn’t the surprising part.

Woods said on his Web site that he will have surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament. He also wrote that he needs time to rehabilitate a double stress fracture of his left tibia, which he said was discovered just before the Memorial Tournament in late May.

And he revealed that he originally ruptured the ACL in 2007 while running at his home in Orlando after the British Open. He said he decided not to have surgery at that point, and he went on to win five of the next six events he entered (through his Target World Challenge in December).

If Tiger Woods’ domination was not demoralizing enough already, the revelations that came to quiet the critics of the legitimacy of his pain is salt to the wounds of all those unable to conquer the number one golfer in the world. Woods has won 11 of the last 14 events that he has entered worldwide, including a streak at one time of nine in a row, while finishing second twice and fifth once in the only three events he entered in that he did not win during that stretch.

Tiger won the U.S. Open a mere two months after arthroscopic knee surgery and a diagnosis of a double stress fracture in his left tibia a month later, as well as while playing on an ACL that has been ruptured since late July of last year. Yet a wounded Woods could not, and would not, be stopped. Not even by medical professionals.

“The week of Memorial [two weeks before the Open], I thought there was no chance he could play,” Haney said in a telephone interview from his home in Texas. “The doctors told him he needed to be on crutches for three weeks and then three more weeks of inactivity, and then you start rehabbing.

“But Tiger looked the guy in the eye and said, ‘I’m playing in the U.S. Open and I’m going to win.’ Then he started putting on his shoes and told me we’re going to go practice. It’s just incredible.”

Woods, bum knee and all, was even bold enough to privately predict a victory in the U.S. Open with a truncated training regiment and a disbelieving swing coach.

Haney said the extent of Woods’ preparation for the U.S. Open was hitting four or five practice balls at a time before heading back to a golf cart.

“He couldn’t walk,” Haney said. “The 50 balls I’m talking about him hitting included the first 15 warm-up wedges. You’re talking about 30 full swings a day.”

“Tiger has such an incredible pain tolerance,” Haney said. “When he said he was going to play, I knew he was going to play. The thing that concerned me most was, was he going to be able to walk? Was it just going to deteriorate so much that he wasn’t going to be able to swing at all?

“And that didn’t take into account the issue that he hadn’t had any preparation. He didn’t get to play. He didn’t get to do anything. That was the concern. But Tiger has such an incredible pain tolerance.”

“In my mind, I honestly thought he was just going to give it his best effort, his 100 percent best effort all the way up until the tournament. I knew he wasn’t going to bag it two weeks before. He was going to hope for a miracle until the last possible point that he couldn’t make it. In my mind, that was the most likely scenario: He just would try until the end and then come to the realization that he couldn’t go. When he canceled out of the Memorial, he was in real bad shape then. He couldn’t have played in the U.S. Open then. He couldn’t even move.”

When Earl Woods says that he used to tell Tiger he’ll never find anyone more mentally tough than he is during the newest Nike commercial, it is hard not to believe him. When Tiger says he’s taking the rest of the 2008 season off for rehabilitation yet swing coach Hank Haney says he’ll be “better than ever” upon his return, it is hard not to believe him. Yet it is hard not to believe that the ten month hiatus is actually to allow Woods to fly back to his home planet of Krypton, recharging his powers.

Because in this world, Tiger Woods is inhuman.

Linkage: ESPN.com & ESPN.com

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5 Responses to “Tiger Woods Is Inhuman”

  1. Shea said

    I’m sure Tiger’s knee bothered him and that you need your knee to play golf, but a golfer with an ACL injury sounds ridiculous!!

    It’s almost like a bowler with a rotator cuff tear. I’m sure it happens but it just doesn’t seem right.

  2. Matt said

    That’s a GREAT metaphor man, seriously.

    Charlie, Condo, and myself all played (semi) competitive golf in high school and those kind of injuries on the left knee for a right handed golfer is simply mind blowing.

    Thanks for the continued support, Shea.

  3. mtbrooks said

    “Tiger Woods is not an athlete.”
    This is exactly what track star Michael Johnson told a room of 700 people yesterday morning. My wife was there (company conference).
    Discuss.

  4. Matt said

    Thanks for the topic, Mtbrooks.

    I have to disagree with Michael Johnson. Tiger may not be the athlete Michael Johnson was in his prime and one can argue the validity of golf as a true athletic event.

    However, Tiger is a physical freak. He works out all of the time and I have talk to some friends on campus in med school/physical therapy about the US Open and Tiger and they said the only way he could’ve played with the injuries that came out in the news the following week was to have been in top-tier shape…

    So presumably that makes him an athlete by most standards. If what it takes to be considered an athlete is to be like Michael Johnson then there aren’t many athletes in this world…

  5. coffee said

    Woods will be back on his game in no time, after his knee surgery, i’m sure; he seems like a tough guy

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