Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Under the Knife

The 2008 PGA Tour season is officially over.

Well, it might as well be, now that Tiger Woods is going to have season-ending surgery on his left knee. The Golf Channel reported on Wednesday that Woods suffered a stress fracture in his knee two weeks ago, when he was rehabing in preparation for this past weekend's U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

Woods beat Rocco Mediate in a sudden-death playoff on Monday to collect his 14th career major, in a performance Woods himself called his best ever. To battle knee pain the way he did -- pain that seemed to get worse as the tournament went along and only seemed to flare up when he hit a good shot ... absolutely unfathomable.

Now we know why the doctors recommended Tiger not play this past weekend, what with that stress fracture and all.

Woods is scheduled to have the surgery -- which will focus on his ACL -- in the near future, and will miss both the British Open and the PGA Championship. So a year where many -- including Tiger -- felt the Grand Slam was possible, the world's greatest player will only take home one big-time trophy.

I still think Woods will overtake Jack Nicklaus' record eventually, and holding off on competitive golf until 2009 to let his knee recover is the smart move. But interest in the sport will definitely wane, particularly in the last two majors of the season and the forthcoming FedEx Cup (a contrived "playoff" similar to NASCAR's Chase For the Sprint Cup).

Will golf survive? Naturally, and other players have to feel good about their chances in the British and PGA -- a major without Tiger in it is a rare breed, and ripe for the taking. And if Tiger gets himself right, he very well could dominate in 2009.

But I would imagine for the PGA Tour, that's a long wait.

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