Today, I received a Twitter update on my phone. It was Tiger Woods, apologizing for the fact he will be absent from the Quail Hollow Open. His reason? An injury to his left knee.
During the third round of the Masters, Woods has now revealed that an awkward lie on the 17th hole caused an MCL sprain and a sprain of his Achilles tendon. So what does this mean?
Well, Woods' knee injury was rated a Grade 1, so it's barely enough to be classified outside of "mild," which was how his Achilles was rated.
The good news is that neither injury will require surgery, at least that's what Woods said. He will receive therapy, rest himself and hopes to be back "in a few weeks."
There are a few problems raised by this, however. Woods has already suffered multiple left knee injuries. This sprain can not be doing any good for him, and reveals just how fragile his knee is. If an awkward lie could cause a sprain, what will it take for a re-tearing?
The other issue is that this is his left Achilles tendon. Woods revealed that he had ruptured his right Achilles, and that is why he did not practice as much prior to the 2010 season. Now, diagnosed with an injury to the opposite side, it begs the question: How does injuring both affect him?
It could be a good thing that Woods did not re-injure his right Achilles tendon, because it most likely would have resulted in a worse injury. However, Tiger Woods now has two bad Achilles tendons. He has injured both. Known for being a career-ending injury for many athletes, how far does Woods lie away from that?
What does this injury announcement mean for Tiger?
I'm going to say that, for Tiger, further away than we think because he is incredibly fit and works hard to prevent injury.
Let's discuss what else this injury brings to mind.
Tiger just went to China on a tour and played golf. If he was so injured, why did he go? The answer could be the millions he was going to make, or it could be that this injury really wasn't that bad. If I were to say, I would go with the fact he had committed himself to going regardless.
The more important thought, however, was probably that Tiger Woods injured himself on the 17th hole at Augusta during a round that was not characteristic of Woods—especially on moving day. However, Woods brushed aside the bad round, and the injury, to mount a comeback, only to be passed by Charl Schwartzel, who lit Augusta on fire for the closing holes.
How was this injury affecting Woods? He put together a spectacular front nine, but faltered on the back where he normally excels. Was this a mindset or physical limitation?
After Woods revealed this injury, it set a lot of thought in motion. Here's my thought on it: If Tiger Woods really is injured where he won't play, and still finished fourth at the Masters, coming nine holes short of winning, the rest of the field better watch out. He won with a worse injury, but to compete at the level he did, given his entire situation, it makes you wonder what he is still capable of.
The last thing it shows is his drive. Woods could have pulled out at the final round, but it was a major, what he plays the game for. It wasn't just a major, it was the Masters. He refused to let something small come in the way of his chance at redemption, and only came up four strokes short.
Say what you want, but this injury does show who Tiger really is. It also begs a lot of questions. You can, of course, expect those questions to be answered as he likes next time he plays.