Tiger Woods Return to Professional Golf ‘Very Unlikely’ According to Orthopedic Trauma Surgeon

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Tiger Woods probably won’t be returning to play professional golf. That’s the diagnosis of a noted trauma surgeon specializing in orthopedics.

Dr. Michael Gardner is chief of orthopedic trauma at Stanford Medical Center. Gardner publicly voiced the thought many fans privately feared. A 45-year-old Tiger Woods probably won’t be able to return to pro golf after suffering horrific leg injuries in a crash Tuesday morning.

“I would say, unfortunately, it’s very, very unlikely that he returns to be a professional golfer after these injuries,” Gardner said of Tiger Woods. “His age, his multiple back issues, this is going to be a very long road ahead if he chooses to attempt to return to his previous level of golfing.”

Tiger Woods already faced stacked odds about a return to high-level competitive golf. That was before he lost control of an SUV and crashed off a windy coastal road near Los Angeles.

Woods still was recuperating from his fifth back surgery. He’d had four surgeries on his left knee. Plus, golfers his age, without health issues, don’t normally win consistently on the PGA. The Champions Tour is for golfers 50 and older.

Anish Mahajan, the chief medical officer for Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said Tiger Woods shattered the tibia and fibula bones on his right leg. He said surgeons used a rod to stabilize those breaks. Surgeons also used screws and pins for the fractures in his ankle and foot.

Another Orthopedist Says Tiger Woods Fractures Will Be Slower To Heal

Dr. Scott Boden, an orthopedic surgeon at Emory University School of Medicine, said Woods’ compound fractures likely will be slower to heal.

Boden told CNBC that doctors consider these types of fractures as “high energy.”

Early Wednesday morning, an official statement posted on the Tiger Woods Twitter account said the golfer was “awake, responsive and recovering” after surgery. Woods told police he has no memories of the crash.

With 82 victories, Tiger Woods and Sam Snead are tied for most career PGA wins. Woods also owns 15 Grand Slam victories. He’s three away from tying Jack Nicklaus for the record.

Woods, overcoming knee and back injuries, won the Masters in 2019. This achievement is considered one of the greatest moments of sports history in the United States.

So, there’s plenty to play for, if Tiger Woods has the will and the leg strength to return.

PGA commissioner Jay Monahan addressed Woods’ situation during a media availability at a tournament in Florida.

Monagan said: “Listen, when Tiger wants to talk about golf, we’ll talk about golf. When you’re going to overcome what he needs to overcome, I think the love of all of our players and everybody out here, it’s going to come forward in a big way and across the entire sporting world.”

“I think he’ll feel that energy and I think that’s what we should all focus on.”

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