Timeline: Looking back at Tiger Woods’ injury history

Timeline: Looking back at Tiger Woods’ injury history originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Tiger Woods is one of the greatest golfers in history, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing throughout his career.

The 46-year-old Woods announced Tuesday that “as of right now” he would play in the 2022 Masters Tournament, which begins with the opening round on Thursday. That comes nearly 14 months after he suffered significant injuries in a car accident.

Woods is no stranger to injuries, having dealt with plenty over the course of his career. The latest injuries, which included broken bones in both his legs, were nearly career-ending.

Here’s a recap of Woods’ lengthy injury history:

1994

In 1994, while Woods was a student athlete at Stanford, he had two benign tumors and scar tissue removed from his left knee. Woods competed in his first Masters Tournament just a few months later in April of 1995, finishing tied for 41st as a 19-year-old amateur.

2002

After years of health (and incredible success on the course), Woods had a brief setback in 2002. He had offseason surgery in December to remove fluid inside and outside his ACL. He also had benign cysts removed from his left knee. The young star missed a few tournaments to begin 2003, but he won three of his first four events after returning. He didn’t win any major tournaments in 2003, the first year since 1998 that he went 0-for-4.

2007

The real injury troubles began for Woods in 2007. In August of that year, he ruptured his ACL while running after the British Open. He played through the injury, winning five of his final six tournaments to close the season. Woods finished the year by winning the PGA Championship for his 13th major championship.

2008

Woods opted against surgery for his 2007 knee injury, but he paid the price in 2008. He won three straight tournaments to begin the year, but he had arthroscopic knee surgery after finishing second at the Masters. A month later, doctors said he had two stress fractures in his left tibia.

In June, two months after his surgery and still clearly in pain from the tibia injuries, he won the U.S. Open – his last major win for 11 years. Woods finally had surgery to repair his left ACL after the tournament and he missed eight months of competition.

Months later in December, Woods ruptured his Achilles tendon while jogging. He played through the injury throughout 2009, reaggravating the tear several times.

2010

Woods withdrew from The Players Championship in May due to a neck injury, which was later determined to be an inflamed facet joint.

2011

Knee and Achilles injuries defined Woods’ 2011 season. In April, he strained his left Achilles while taking a swing at the Masters. He finished tied for fourth despite the injury. The following month, Woods again withdrew from The Players Championship after spraining his MCL in his left knee. The combination of injuries forced him to miss two months.

2012-13

Woods was resurgent over the next two years, winning eight tournaments. He withdrew from the Cadillac Championship in March 2012 due to Achilles tightness. In June of 2013, he missed two tournaments due to an elbow strain. He later tweaked his back at The Barclays in August of 2013, causing him to drop to his knees in pain.

2014-15

After two years of relative health, Woods’ luck turned for the worse. Back spasms forced him out of the Honda Classic, Cadillac Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational and Masters Tournament in 2014. He briefly returned over the summer months, but missed the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with back pain.

In 2015, the back injuries continued for Woods. He withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open in February before returning for the Masters in April. He missed the cut in three of four majors in 2015 before having two microdiscectomy surgeries on his back in September. Just a month later, he had another back surgery that was intended to relieve his discomfort. Woods didn’t return to golf for 16 months after the surgery.

2017

Woods underwent a fourth back surgery in April of 2017, and this one was a success. He played in just one tournament in 2016 and 2017 before playing 18 events in 2018.

2019

A neck strain forced Woods out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The injury didn’t hamper him at the 2019 Masters, though, which he won for his first major championship since 2008.

2020-21

Woods had a fifth back surgery in December of 2020, another microdiscectomy to remove a bone fragment that was pinching a nerve.

The latest, and most significant, injury occurred on Feb. 23, 2021. Driving over 80 mph by himself in an SUV in California, Woods’ car rolled over and he was trapped inside before emergency personnel arrived. He suffered compound fractures in both of his legs before undergoing surgery. Woods was in serious but stable condition after the crash, but his golf career was obviously in jeopardy.

Woods is unlikely to ever return to the tour full time, but it’s silly to count him out after all the injuries he’s overcome.

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