I was fearing the worst when I first saw the news about Tiger Woods being in a serious car accident in Los Angeles.
As is sometimes the case when a story likes this breaks, a range of stories appeared online, with some initially suggesting he was in a critical condition.
It was very worrying when you saw the pictures of the severely damaged car and heard the “jaws of life” were used to remove him from his vehicle.
When it was confirmed his injuries weren’t life-threatening, it was a huge relief, but Tiger is now facing a massive challenge to get back to full fitness after undergoing surgery on injuries to his right leg described as “significant”.
Before Tuesday’s accident, it was already becoming clear there was a strong possibility Tiger wasn’t going to be at the Masters in April.
He had back surgery in December and, in interviews at the Genesis Invitational at the weekend, he didn’t sound overly optimistic about his chances of being ready for Augusta.
After this major setback, we are all wondering if he is going to play again.
Ben Hogan survived a near-fatal car crash in 1949 and went on to win the US Open the following year.
There will be many people who use that as inspiration Tiger can do the same, but it is going to be a tall order.
He has had a rod inserted in his leg and pins in his foot and to be a top golfer you need to have flexibility and strong, supple ankles.
There is also the question of how this accident has affected his back injury.
He is older now and the rehabilitation process will take longer. He won’t know how his back has responded to the December surgery until his leg and ankle have healed properly.
I know someone who suffered an Achilles injury and they were out of action for a year as they couldn’t walk properly. It is going to be a long process.
I feel for his family and, like everyone, I hope he makes as quick a recovery as possible. It would be a massive blow for golf if this was the end of his career.
There was a long period when we thought we would never see Tiger back competing for majors, but he got fit enough to win a 15th major at the 2019 Masters. That was one of the great sporting comebacks, if not the greatest. Hopefully this is not the end, but the signs don’t look good.
The one thing we know about Tiger is he will only return to competing for majors if he feels he has a chance of winning and edging closer to Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major victories.
At this stage we don’t know if his aim will be to get back to be fit to play top-level golf or simply to be well enough to be a dad.
It would be a real shame if he wasn’t able to bow out of the sport in the way he had hoped.
He is golf’s greatest player, certainly in my generation, and he has brought so much to tournaments in recent years since he has returned.
He is by far our sport’s biggest draw. We can see that by the coverage this week. Every media outlet in the world was reporting on his accident, which is no surprise because he is one of the most famous sportsmen on the planet.
Hopefully it becomes a bit clearer over the next few days and we get the good news that he will be able to make a full and quick recovery.
Every golf fan wants to see Tiger back in action at the majors, but if he doesn’t feel he can compete then we may not see him back on the course again, which would be a great shame.
Only a matter of time for Finau
Tony Finau’s wait for his second PGA Tour victory continues after he was pipped in a play-off by Max Homa at the Genesis Invitational.
Finau has been one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour, with 37 top-10 finishes, but has found it difficult to get over the winning line. It is only a matter of time before he starts winning tournaments on a regular basis.
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) February 22, 2021
He will win by more than six shots somewhere and, once he wins one, he probably won’t stop.
He hits the ball as long and as straight as any other player in the world. He maybe just needs that belief that he can win regularly, because he is certainly capable.
Homa was very emotional after his victory and it looked like a dream come true to win at Riviera.
He said afterwards he had spent the last 12 years trying to get a high five from his hero Tiger Woods and now, as the event’s host, he was handing over the trophy.
I spent over a dozen years trying to get Tiger to give me a high 5 at Riviera and today he handed me a trophy hahaha what a world! #golf
— max homa (@maxhoma23) February 22, 2021
I’m sure after what happened this week it will have been even more special for him.