“He’s not Superman” - thoughts drift from a Tiger Woods comeback

 

Rory McIlroy regards Tiger Woods' comeback from four back surgeries to win the 2019 Masters as greater than legendary Ben Hogan's return from a broken back in the 1950s.

But even McIlroy isn't sure Woods can return from injuries so significant the 15-time major champ has had rods and pins inserted in his shattered leg to stabilise injuries sustained in a car accident he was lucky just to survive.

Woods continues to be the talk of the Workday Championships in Florida, where players were rattled 24 hours ago when images of the rolled car in Los Angeles sent shudders up spines.

As confirmation came that Woods was out of surgery, stable and taking visitors, those fears turned back to hope that the 15-time major champion could make a solid recovery.

But as for returning to golf again McIlroy, who saw Woods pain close up in recent years, wasn't sure the now 45-year-old could do it all again.

"He's not Superman," McIlroy said.

"He's a human being at the end of the day. And he's already been through so much. At this stage I think everyone should just be grateful that he's here, that he's alive, that his kids haven't lost their dad. That's the most important thing. Golf is so far from the equation right now, it's not even on the map at this point.

" I mean, he's here, he's fine. He's got some pretty bad injuries, but he's going to be okay. It's not as if -- I was looking at some of the coverage yesterday and they were talking as if he was gone.

"It's like, he was in a car crash. It was really bad, he's very fortunate to be here, which is great, but I mean, that's the extent of it."

Leading Australian sports medico, Dr Peter Larkins, said Woods faced "huge challenge" to get back given the significance of his injuries.

"Tiger Woods facing huge rehab challenges after breaking both right & left tibia in legs requiring rod & cross-bolt fixation , ankle plate/ screws & large compartment pressure release surgery - already in rehab for recent revision spine surgery- competitive future in major doubt," he posted on Twitter.

Despite widespread coverage of all Woods previous battles, McIlroy said he didn't think people realised just how bad it was.

"A few of us out here do ... the guys that are in Florida that have gotten a little bit closer with him -- the struggle and the things he had to deal with to get to that point to win Augusta in 2019," McIlroy said.

"Look, I don't want to take anything away from what Ben Hogan did after his car crash or any of the other comebacks that athletes have had in other sports, but right now I can't think of any greater comeback in sports than the journey that he made from that lunch we had in 2017 to winning the Masters a couple years later.

McIlroy said the golf world was starting to prepare for life without playing Tiger already, but didn't want to put a line through him yet.

"I think we're all sort of heading towards that day that Tiger wasn't going to be a part of the game. I'm not saying that that was soon. Before this accident, he was rehabbing a back injury and hopefully going to come back and play this year," he said.

"Hopefully he comes back and is able to play, but if he's not, I think he'll still be a part of the game in some way,

"It might be the end of seeing the genius at work with a club in his hand, but there's still a lot of other ways that he can affect the game in a great way."

Originally published as "He's not Superman" - thoughts drift from a Tiger Woods comeback


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