Write off Tiger at your peril...

2013 08 Tiger 10
One damaged elbow. Many knee-jerk reactions. That, in a nutshell, sums up the response to Tiger Woods' latest injury.

The world No.1 announced last week that he would be sidelined until the Open after straining his left elbow during the US Open. He revealed that he initially sustained the injury during the Players Championship.

"I have been advised to take a few weeks off, rest and undergo treatment," wrote Woods on his website. "I'll be ready to go for the British Open."

Which, of course, was the cue for many people to start debating whether or not he would, in fact, appear at Murfield.

Twitter, predictably, lit up in a blaze of wild speculation as fans, pundits and players alike all queued up to question what this latest injury might mean to the 14-time major winner.

The opinions varied from hysterical to downright ridiculous, with some people even suggesting that we might have seen Tiger win for the last ever time.
After he ruptured his ACL in 2008, people speculated that he might never play again. He came back to win seven times in 2009.

Such talk is utter nonsense. If history has shown us anything about Tiger down the years, it's that writing him off is a mug's pastime. Each and every time he has been knocked, he's bounced back.

When he binned Butch Harmon as his coach, some said that he'd never be as successful ever again. The stats prove that, under the tutelage of Hank Haney, he was more successful.

After he ruptured his ACL in 2008, people speculated that he might never play again. He came back to win seven times in 2009.

When his marriage (and image) collapsed at the end of that year, he fought back and, slowly, rediscovered some of his best form to get back in the winning groove on the PGA Tour and reclaim his position at the top of the world rankings.

Sure, Tiger's body is perhaps more brittle than it has ever been. But he's not a teenager anymore. He's a 37-year-old man with a lengthy history of injuries. He's going to be more susceptible to aches, pains and strains.

But to suggest he is a couple more injuries away from retirement - as some have done - is crazy. I don't just expect Tiger to bounce back from this latest strain. I am 100% convinced he will.

In fact, I'll say it right now. He'll win at least once more this season. He'll finish the year as world No.1. He'll win the FedEx Cup. And by the end of next season, he'll have broken Sam Snead's record of PGA Tour wins. Major glory? Regular readers will know I have my doubts about whether or not he'll win another of those, but those doubts have nothing to do with his history of injuries and, despite my misgivings, I wouldn't be overly surprised to see him win another of golf's marquee events before he calls time on his career.

But injuries? They haven't stopped Tiger up to this point. They're not going to start now. He'll be back and I'm looking forward to seeing him at Muirfield.

 

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