It is being widely reported that Tiger Woods will shut it down for the rest of the golf season, electing to have ACL surgery on the left knee that caused him such obvious pain during the 108th U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
Woods revealed that he suffered a stress fracture in his left leg about two weeks before the Open.
Woods won the Open in a 19-hole playoff on Monday over a game Rocco Mediate, who pushed Woods perhaps harder than he’s ever been pushed in winning a major.
What golf fans thought was remarkable has become even more legendary. Before this revelation, it was truly amazing to think of Woods being able to come back after a 9-week layoff on what was still at the very least a sore knee and still win a major championship.
To find out now that he was doing it on what is essentially a broken leg and a knee that required further work to fully repair is the stuff of legend. Willis Reed, meet Tiger Woods.
While some may choose to think that Mediate and the field somehow benefited from a gimpy Woods, consider that Woods finished the Open championship at 1 under par through four rounds, a full six shots better than the two previous winning scores in Opens. And then, in a fifth round on a harder, faster, tougher golf course, he ripped off another even par 71.
Woods played 91 holes of U.S. Open golf in 1 under. On a bad knee supported by a broken leg.
While his march on Nicklaus ends for the season at 14, Woods’ legend only grows with this news.
Of course, it hurts the game. Woods is the biggest TV draw in American sports, and now the British Open and PGA Championship will be without him. Maybe even more dramatic, the Ryder Cup will be without Woods now, a severe blow to what has been a slumping American team over the last few years.
And it hurts the field. While Woods’ departure certainly opens the door for everybody else, the 2008 Open Championship and 2008 PGA will be known more for who won’t be there than who wins. Should Phil Mickelson win either, the tally will go down on his major resume, but it will come with an asterisk placed there by a nod-nod, wink-wink public.
This news affects the whole game, and its history, from the U.S. Open through the rest of the year.