ATTENTION, READERS in the 28 EUROPEAN VAT COUNTRIES: Because of the new VAT law, you probably can't order books direct from my site now. But that's okay -- just go to my Smashwords author page.
You can order PDFs (as well as all the other ebook formats) from there.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tiger Talks Rehab

Well, we finally know the story behind Tiger's last few months of "golflessness" and Ryder Cup questions. If you missed GC's press coverage, you can check out one of the videos from GC (there is more than one on the site) or read one of the articles like this one from the Augusta Chronicle. I'll give you a quick summary.

Tiger in healthier days

For me, the real confusion came when Tiger announced after Wyndham that he was planning to play at the, only to back out after having back surgery. All I could figure was that the surgery wasn't planned.

We now know it wasn't. Tiger was having some hip problems at Wyndham -- remember when he said he was walking awkwardly because he was "just getting old"? -- or at least he thought they were hip problems. When he left Greensboro he discovered it was the back again and he had to have TWO more surgeries, all on the same spot where he had the original surgery. It's pretty clear he came back too early.

As for the Ryder Cup vice-captaincy appointment, it's clear Tiger doesn't know when he'll get to play golf again so he's making sure he can still stay involved. He says he hasn't even begun rehab yet; the doctors won't let him. When a reporter asked him what he was doing, he simply said, "I walk." And when the reporter, clearly expecting more, added, "And...?" Tiger smiled and said, "I walk... and I walk some more." He can't even play with his kids. He said about all he can do is sit and play video games.

When he isn't walking. Despite the jokes, it sounds like he's doing a lot of walking since that's pretty much all he's allowed to do. And while lots of people underestimate it, bear in mind that walking is one of the best low-impact exercises you can do if you're trying to recover from almost anything.

Most of what you'll be hearing focuses on these assorted statements from Tiger, made at various points during the presser (I've taken them from the Augusta Chronicle piece). You can hear the frustration, and that's what has the commentators talking.
  • “The hardest part for me is there’s really nothing I can look forward to, nothing I can build toward. It’s just taking it literally day by day and week by week and time by time.”
  • “I have no answer for that [when he might play again or even start rehab], and neither does my surgeon or my physios. There is no timetable.”
  • “For nerves, there are really no timetables and therein lies the tricky part of it. … It just depends on how the nerve heals and how it settles.”
  • “So where is the light at the end of the tunnel? I don’t know, so that’s been hard. I had to reset the clock each and every day and OK, here we go. This is a new day and this is taken for what it is. I listen to my surgeon. I listen to my physios and we just take it day by day. Hopefully, the day-by-day adds up to something positive here soon.”
  • “I’ve had a pretty good career for my 20s and 30s. For my 20 years out here, I think I’ve achieved a lot, and if that’s all it entails, then I’ve had a pretty good run. But I’m hoping that’s not it. I’m hoping that I can get back out here and compete against these guys. I really do miss it.”
  • “If I can get to that [healthy enough to play soccer with his two children], then we can start talking about golf. But let me get to where I can pass the time and really be a part of my kids’ life in the way that I want to be part of it physically, not just as a cheerleader.
The comment about having had a pretty good career -- which was a considerably more detailed answer than is quoted here -- is what really seems to have gotten folks' attention. It appears Tiger is coming to grips with the idea that he might be human after all.

The fact that this is a nerve problem, coupled with the fact that he's not going to hurry things this time around, may actually be good news. There have been a number of athletes to come back from serious nerve problems -- two in particular come to mind.
  • Payton Manning, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, came back from four surgeries to repair nerves in his neck. He has set several records in the last three years, despite being 39 years old in a sport where you get hit by 300 lb players. (Granted, he's been struggling some this season but that's been because of some foot and rib injuries, not his neck.) Payton has experienced some lost power to his throwing arm, but it hasn't stopped him from leading his team to a winning record in all of his seasons since he came back.
  • And then there's Davis Love, who had a bone fused in his neck but is still playing with the young guys. He won Wyndham at age 51 this year, remember?
Of course, the big deal here is time. Tiger has always been able to work to a timeframe for recovery, which he can't this time. Helplessness is a terrible feeling, especially when you're used to overcoming every obstacle in your way. Some are questioning if Tiger is losing hope.

As someone who is having to deal with getting older and not being able to do everything I used to -- even though I can still do a lot more than some people expect -- I understand his frustration. But as long as Tiger gives his body enough time to heal, I suspect he'll eventually be able to play golf again. And I won't be surprised if he is still competitive on the PGA Tour, even if it takes two or three years for him to get back there. After all, as a golf geek myself, I know there is more than one way to swing a golf club effectively. Since Tiger is a golf geek as well and he wants to get back and compete with his friends, unless his body is a complete wreck he'll probably be able to do it.

But for now he's got video games, a Ryder Cup vice captaincy... and walking. A lot of walking.

No comments:

Post a Comment