Mar
17
2012
As the Tiger World Turns…
By Stephanie Wei under Tiger Woods

Tiger #%$^&!*@ Woods!

As you may have heard by now, there have been some developments in the latest Tiger Woods injury status update, along with more intriguing revelations via The New York Times book review of Hank Haney’s upcoming tell-all The Big Miss.

Tiger, who withdrew in the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship last Sunday due to a strained left Achilles, is already back to grinding at the range. He hit golf balls on Friday, according to TigerWoods.com:

He said the ankle felt good and he plans to play in the Tavistock Cup on Monday and Tuesday, followed by the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Thursday through Sunday.

“Looking forward to competing,” Woods said.

At the advice of his doctors, Tiger took a few days off earlier this week to rest and receive treatment on his ankle, which became tight and painful while warming up on the driving range last Sunday. When the pain increased, he withdrew after hitting his tee shot on the 12th hole.

“I decided to be smart about it and not risk further injury,” said Woods, who was sidelined for almost four months last year with Achilles and knee problems.

Woods said he is excited about his game and is already looking forward to the Masters Tournament, April 5-8.

Well, I’m certainly not surprised he’s playing the Masters — he’d be there if he had to walk on crutches, pop painkillers, etc. — but I’m a little shocked he’s going through with a freaking ostentatious exhibition match and making the extra start at Bay Hill. Now, that’s a lot of golf for someone who was forced to pull out of Doral because he was in so much pain.

That’s SEVEN straight days of golf, putting him in a lot of risk to potentially re-injure himself.

My guess has been that he’ll go along with the song and dance that he’s playing both events and then withdraw at the last minute, saying he’s not healthy enough, which would be completely understandable. I actually supported that plan. You know, he does everything he can to make it, but if he’s still hurting, then it’s forgivable for him to skip out next week. It’s not the end of the world and the Masters is vastly more important. Duh.

If he ends up playing the Tavistock Cup and shows up at Bay Hill for the Pro-Am on Wednesday only to somehow restrain his left Achilles, forcing him to pull out of Arnie’s tournament, then that will raise a lot of eyebrows. (Tiger has a vested interest in the Tavistock Cup because he has an ownership interest in Albany, one of the four golf clubs that take part in the exhibition. The other three are Lake Nona, Isleworth and Queenwood. All the members of Team Albany are also members of Nona or Isleworth…)

Well, the Tavistock Cup is so confident that Tiger is healthy and ready to go that they’ve even released the pairings for the matches, according to the Orlando Sentinel:

Monday pairings (best ball):

• 10:50 a.m. – Tiger Woods/Justin Rose (Albany), Charles Howell/Bubba Watson (Isleworth).

• 11:05 a.m. – Ben Curtis/Peter Hanson (Lake Nona), Soren Kjeldsen/Paul McGinley (Queenwood).

• 11:20 a.m. – Ernie Els/Tim Clark (Albany), Thomas Bjorn/Adam Scott (Queenwood).

• 11:35 a.m. – Sean O’Hair/Bo Van Pelt (Isleworth), Retief Goosen/Ross Fisher (Lake Nona).

• 11:50 a.m. – Robert Allenby/Daniel Chopra (Isleworth), David Howell/Tom Lewis (Queenwood).

• 12:05 p.m. – Trevor Immelman/Ian Poulter (Albany), Graeme McDowell/Gary Woodland (Lake Nona).

Tuesday pairings (singles):

• 10:50 a.m. – Tim Clark (A), Robert Allenby (I), Paul McGinley (Q), Ben Curtis (LN).

• 11:05 a.m. – Ernie Els (A), Charles Howell (I), Soren Kjeldsen (Q), Retief Goosen (LN).

• 11:20 a.m. – Trevor Immelman (A), Daniel Chopra (I), David Howell (Q), Ross Fisher (LN).

• 11:35 a.m. – Justin Rose (A), Bo Van Pelt (I), Adam Scott (Q), Peter Hanson (LN).

• 11:50 a.m. – Ian Poulter (A), Bubba Watson (I), Tom Lewis (Q), Gary Woodland (LN).

• 12:05 p.m. – Tiger Woods (A), Sean O’Hair (I), Thomas Bjorn (Q), Graeme McDowell (LN).

Meanwhile, the NYT got its hands on a copy of Haney’s upcoming book and divulged some rather juicy revelations. Haney analyzes Tiger’s relationship with rival/frenemy Phil Mickelson.

Most of it is that Mickelson possesses the kind of talent that has made him a legitimate threat to Tiger’s supremacy. Phil’s popularity with fans and gentle treatment from the media add to Tiger’s annoyance. For years, Tiger reveled in the idea that Mickelson had trouble playing in his presence. But Phil adjusted, and in recent years he’s outplayed Tiger down the stretch in several tournaments. His increased confidence against Tiger, along with the positive energy of the gallery, has flipped the psychological advantage in their matchup in his favor.

Well, we kind of knew or at least assumed that.

Now, here’s the part that Tiger must be really, really pissed about. A few weeks ago, GolfDigest.com revealed five excerpts, including Tiger’s intense military training workouts and his interest in possibly quitting golf to join the Navy SEALs during the time he was mourning he father’s death. However, the most damning damaging detail wasn’t included in those excerpts, which the NYT divulges:

Haney says he was told Woods tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in an exercise with the SEALs, not while running at home.

Haney grew concerned about Woods’s workouts and his focus on weight lifting. Haney thought Woods was “inordinately interested in muscle-building,” which Haney believed did not help Woods’s game and led to injuries. He says that Woods injured his right Achilles’ tendon doing Olympic-style lifts, not while running during testing for new Nike shoes, as he publicly stated.

Wow. Um, no wonder Tiger nearly lost it when pressed on the topic last month during his pre-tourney presser at the Honda Classic.

 (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)