Will Tiger Woods ever play golf again

As Tiger Woods recovers in hospital from a horror car crash, golf fans are all asking the same questions: Will he ever play again?

The 45-year-old underwent surgery for serious leg injuries, including “comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones” of his right leg, as screws and pins were inserted into his foot and ankle after his car rolled off a highway in Los Angeles.

A procedure was also required to cut open the tissue to relieve pressure in his leg muscles because the swelling was so great.

Woods recently underwent his fifth back operation and has had three procedures on his knee during a career that has also seen him bounce back from high-profile scandal in his personal life.

In 2019, he completed an astonishing comeback from four back operations between 2014 and 2017 to win the Masters, his first major title since 2008. But the seriousness of his latest injuries has cast doubt on Woods’s ability to compete at the top level again.

His net worth stands at a staggering $AUD1 billion. Woods has raked in nearly $2 billion from sponsors since going pro in 1996 and has won more than $150 million in prizemoney — but whether he ever plays another tournament to add to that figure remains to be seen.

“If he does come back to be a golfer again then I think that would be quite extraordinary,” six-time major winner Nick Faldo said.

The Englishman added that he thought Woods would first have to focus on rebuilding his body and that playing competitively “is possibly a long way down the line”. Faldo said Woods’s age made it even more difficult.

“It’s tough enough playing at 45 when you’re playing against kids that are 25,” Faldo told CBS.

“But after going through this, all we can do is pray for him and hope that he finds a way to rebuild himself.”

But Woods has more pressing concerns than playing golf — such as trying to walk again, according to medical experts.

The shocking aftermath of Woods’ accident.Source:Supplied

Orthopaedist Dr Andrew Brief told the New York Post it will take time for Woods to just get back on his feet, while his history of back injuries may also pose problems.

“You’re talking about the foot, ankle, leg, tibia,” he said. “It could conceivably be a challenge to walk properly, let alone return to professional sports.

“When you couple the fact that he sustained some sort of devastating injury to the right leg, on top of his continued need for recovery from five times having had lumbar spine surgery, his ability to predictably return to an elite level in professional sports is certainly in question.”

Dr Kirk Campbell, of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at New York University Langone Health, told The Post “it’s going to take several months to just walk”, while Dr Jordan Metzl of the Hospital for Special Surgery added: “He’s an incredible athlete, but as you get up into your 40s and beyond, the healing times slow down and it takes longer to recover from injuries.

“This is going to take months. We can’t think about golf yet.”

Possible complications around risk of infection will also be an obstacle. The New York Times quoted medical experts who predicted rediscovering his range of motion and strength in his legs may take Woods “three months to a year”.

“Depending on the extent of those injuries, even after rehabilitation Woods may barely be able to walk,” the publication said.

Dr R. Malcolm Smith, chief of orthopaedic trauma at UMass Memorial Medical Centre in America, said Woods “may never play golf again” and roughly estimated of Woods’ lower leg fracture that “there is a 70 per cent chance of it healing completely”.

Will Tiger ever swing a club again?Source:AFP

In a lengthy Twitter thread, orthopaedic surgeon and former tour golfer Bill Mallon said if Woods’ right leg heals fully, then he has a good chance of getting back on the course.

However, he was another to reference Woods’ back injuries and suggested his muscles will require as much time to heal, if not more, than the broken bones.

“Infection is a concern, and development of arthritis at the ankle is a longer-term concern but if the wind is fair, he will play golf again,” Mallon wrote.

“How long will it take him to recover from these injuries? Fractures heal fairly well within about six weeks. In the lower extremity, however, they are under more stress and it usually takes about three months to be able to safely bear full weight in the injured leg.

“The goal is to stabilise the fracture sufficiently so that the patient can be mobilised – get out of bed, start walking, start living life again.

“Can Tiger play golf again and if so, how long? From these injuries I suspect the answer is yes, he can play golf again. But I think the rate-limiting factor in his recovery is still his back. Golf places a lot of stress on the back.

“One back surgery is difficult to recover from for a pro golfer. Five back surgeries? Each one makes recovery more difficult. I still think that will be more difficult for him to recover from.

“How long? Major injuries take a long time to recover. Fractures may heal in three months, but the soft tissues will atrophy and have to be rehabbed. I always told patients it takes at least a year to recover from major injuries.”

With AFP

Source: Read Full Article