Tiger Woods could be sidelined for “at least” six months after ankle surgery, according to an orthopedist and former professional golfer.
Woods notched a record-breaking 23rd straight half cut at the Masters earlier this month, but the 15-time Major winner was in last place when he retired after seven holes of the third round at the Augusta National.
The 47-year-old said it was due to a recurrence of plantar fasciitis, but revealed on Wednesday he had undergone a subtalar fusion procedure to fix problems caused by a previous fracture of his talus – a bone in the ankle .
He is expected to miss next month’s US PGA Championship and could be sidelined from virtually his entire limited season with June’s US Open and July’s Open Championship just 13 weeks away.
dr Bill Mallon, an orthopedic surgeon and former PGA Tour player, wrote on Twitter: “It typically takes 6 weeks to 3 months for the merger to take effect and Tiger will have limited weight bearing during that time, which again will be at discretion.” of the surgeon and also depends on how the fusion heals.
“Can he play golf again? Yes, but that is at least 6 months to a year in the future. His tournaments for 2023 are probably over and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him not play again until Augusta 2024.
“Can he play golf well again? Depends on your definition of good. He will never be the tiger of 2000 or even 2015.
“The fact that this is his right foot/ankle is salvation as you need movement in your left foot/ankle as you roll over it just before impact.”
A statement released on Woods’ social media channels on Wednesday read: “Tiger underwent a subtalar fusion procedure earlier today to treat his post-traumatic arthritis from his previous talus fracture.
“It was made by Dr. Martin O’Malley at the HSS Sports Medicine Institute in New York City. He has determined that the operation is successful.
“Tiger is currently recovering and looks forward to beginning his rehabilitation.”
Woods feared his leg would have to be amputated due to the serious injuries he sustained in a car accident in Los Angeles in February 2021.
He made a remarkable return 14 months later, finishing 47th in the Masters, but retired from the US PGA after a 79 in the third round and did not play the US Open before making the cut at the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews missed.
Woods has accepted that he can only play a few times a year going forward and is targeting majors and events he has a personal connection to.
The US Open is being held at the Los Angeles Country Club in June and Woods will be desperate to defy the odds and compete in July’s Open at Royal Liverpool, where he won a third Claret Jug in 2006 and his first tournament since the death of his father Earl won two months earlier.
Before Woods broke news of his operation, R&A director of corporate communications Mike Woodcock was asked about the prospect of the American competing in front of 260,000 spectators, a record for an Open not at St Andrews.
“Hoylake has a fantastic lineup of champions with Tiger and Rory (McIlroy) being the most recent winners and obviously we’d love to see Tiger back here in July,” said Woodcock.
“We’ll have to see how he’s doing but he makes a huge difference in every league he plays in and we’d love to see him here.”
When asked at his pre-Masters press conference what had been the key to his numerous comebacks from serious injuries, Woods said: “Stubbornness.
“I believe in hard work and I believe in getting out there and getting out what you put in. I’ve certainly had my share of physical adversity and multiple surgeries, and I’ve had to come back and work through this.
“They were tough. They were never easy. But the general will to win was always there and I always worked on it and believed in what I could achieve.”