Last week, Tiger Woods missed the cut at the PGA Championship, marking just the fourth time in his career that he failed to make the cut at a major. And it wasn’t even close. Tiger carded a pair of 74’s, putting him at 6-over for the tournament. The cut was 2-under. Tiger finished a shot behind John Daly! There’s no doubt Tiger’s back hindered his play at Valhalla, but why play, if he was fighting through pain?
In the days leading up to the tournament, Tiger claimed his back was “pain-free“, just one week after withdrawing from Bridgestone because of supposedly severe back pain. At Bridgestone, Tiger said he “jarred” his back after an awkward sand shot. That makes sense–Tiger just had back surgery a few months ago. After all, nearly everyone thought Tiger was pushing it, by returning from his injury so soon. But, again: why play the PGA if Tiger’s back was in that much pain? Lots of people will say that is what athlete’s do. They play through pain, and if they win, it is that much sweeter. That’s true, sure. And the risk? Well, with a back injury like Tiger has been dealing with, the consequences to his career would be fatal. Coming back from injury too soon and further aggravating it could speed up the end of his career. Continue reading