Tiger Woods is swinging golf clubs again. It’s not at a tournament, or what even looks like a practice round, but a club is technically making contact with a ball. On Sunday morning, Woods posted a brief, three-second, clip on Twitter of him with a basket of golf balls, and taking practice cuts. The only words he sent with the video, “Making Progress.”
It is nice to see Woods hitting a golf ball. Him on the links in any way does make this terrifying planet feel a bit more normal, but do notice the right leg. That is the leg that was mangled in his February single-car accident. Nine months later, the leg still requires artificial support just for him to take a few practice swings.
The accident resulted in comminuted open fractures to both his fibula and tibia. That means those major leg bones were both broken into multiple pieces and were also protruding through his skin. Woods, an athlete who has dealt with an extensive amount of injury and rehab, including back surgery he was recovering from at the time of the accident, told Golf Digest in late May that dealing with the injuries from this accident is “more painful than anything I have ever experienced.”
This is where we are now in the third part of the Tiger Woods story. The second part ended in the HBO documentary Tiger, with him winning the Masters in 2019. That followed a fall from grace due to back and knee injuries, and injuries to his reputation due to infidelity and drug abuse made public.
At 45 years old, the only accomplishment left for Woods is Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships that Woods has always wanted to break, but that’s not realistic. Nicklaus won his final major at 46 years old. Woods’ 46th birthday is next month and he’s three majors short of tying Nicklaus. Now he’s dealing with injuries from the car accident on top of the ones that prevented him from winning a major championship for 11 years.
This third part does not have to end with Tiger defying all medical odds to break the record, or even compete on the PGA Tour at an elite level. He’s a competitor who surely does not want his career to end in an overturned vehicle in Southern California. If he is willing to put his body through the hell necessary to get back on the tour, more power to him, but for the rest of us there’s nothing to expect.
As sports fans, Woods has given us 25 years of excitement and intrigue as one of the most compelling figures in sports. We also got an in-depth look into his personal life that we rarely get from an active sports star that was a little too in-depth for me. I do not feel better for knowing how fond Woods is of Perkins restaurants.
We lived in a time when a biracial professional golfer was, for a time, one of the most famous people on Earth. His success made the game feel accessible outside of the country club. As great as it would be to see him don the Sunday red shirt one more time, he’s done enough. The third part of this story does not need the storybook ending of the second.