by Jeff Skinner
Tiger Woods may be out of The Masters next week but he certainly isn’t out of the conversation. Rory McIlroy is the favorite at 7-1 but the over/under on “Tiger Mentions” goes off at somewhere around 5,000. Even sitting on his couch, (or rehabbing in his gym) Tiger Woods drives many a conversation.
For those that are quick to write off Tiger’s career and his chase of Jack Nicklaus, forget that. Tiger has shown us that he can come back from injury, both physical and mental, before and this case will be no different. He is too determined and too well conditioned an athlete to not have a very good chance of regaining his form.
But those that think Tiger will defy the odds, prove the doctors wrong and be back contending in a major this year, they may be disappointed. With a three to four month recuperation timeline Woods will miss the U.S. Open, the Open Championship and maybe be swinging at full speed about the time the PGA Championship begins. If he is lucky.
Fellow pro, Graham DeLaet had the same surgery a few years back and while he is now one of the best golfers on tour it took him quite awhile before he felt fully recovered. DaLaet had the surgery in January of 2011 and was out for the better part of the year.
He could chip a bit after two months but found he needed much longer for his full swing to feel comfortable, “It was at the two month mark where I started hitting little chips and putts and half-wedges, kind of thing. By the time, it wasn’t probably until November that I could really like go after a drive as hard as I could, or really lash at one in the deep rough kind of thing.”
That’s ten months for a pro to come back from this surgery and if Tiger follows the same path this season is over. If we know anything about Tiger it is that he is capable of doing the extraordinary so I wouldn’t be surprised if he came back at full speed for the PGA and won it. But I sure wouldn’t bet on it.