Why a Golf Comeback for Woods Is Nearly Impossible

Tim Dahlberg, who has covered the golfer since 1996, explains
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 24, 2021 1:16 PM CST
Tiger Woods Survived. Don't Expect the Same for His Career
A vehicle rests on its side after a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods on Tuesday in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles. Woods suffered leg injuries in the one-car accident and underwent surgery, authorities and his manager said.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The good news in the wake of Tiger Woods' Tuesday car crash is fairly obvious: He survived, despite severe injuries that include multiple open fractures of his leg. "The bad news is that the career of the world's greatest golfer—at least on the game's biggest stages"—is almost certainly over, writes Tim Dahlberg, who has covered Woods since 1996, for the AP. Coming back from his recent back surgery to play again as a 45-year-old was never going to be an easy thing. "Woods himself said previously that Father Time remains undefeated and that his return to top-level play wasn't guaranteed," writes Dahlberg. "Combine that with the gruesome injuries from his crash and now it borders on impossible."

Dahlberg scuttles any comparison to Ben Hogan, who came back from a near-fatal car accident in 1949 to win the US Open the next year. "Hogan was nine years younger, hadn't been through multiple back and knee surgeries, and didn't have to try to swing his driver hard enough to hit it 350 yards to keep up with the other players. Woods was fragile enough to begin with, and there were already questions about whether he could return to play at a high level." Sure, you might be able to say he and Hogan have the same fighting spirit, "but in the end there's only so much he can do to mend his broken body." For Woods, it means there's no chance of breaking the record of 18 major championship wins held by Jack Nicklaus. "It means his fans will never be able to will him on to another win like they did at the 2019 Masters. And it means golf will be a lot quieter for a long time to come." (Read the full column here.)

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