In his column about the new back injury that forced Tiger Woods to withdraw from the WGC Firestone on Sunday, Robert Lusetich of Fox Sports outlines an off-beat but plausible explanation for why Tiger keeps getting hurt.
It comes from “The Big Miss,” a tell-all book by Tiger’s old swing coach Hank Haney.
According to Haney, Tiger was always fighting against the stereotype that golfers weren’t “real athletes.” He got himself in ridiculous shape, did Navy SEAL training workouts, and generally did everything he could to convince people that he was as athletic as an NBA or NFL player.
As a part of that, he took pride in his injuries.
From Haney’s book:
“Of course, Tiger still could have worsened his knee with heavy workouts or Navy SEALs activities. But Tiger preferred that people see his injuries related to his sport, so that he could wear them as a badge of honour. To him, injuries were a way of being accepted into the fraternity of superstars who played more physical sports than golf. For example, a couple of times when I knew he’d just gotten off the phone with Derek Jeter, I’d asked what they had talked about. Both times Tiger said the conversation was about injuries they were each dealing with. Once in the clubhouse at Isleworth, Shaquille O’Neal came by the lunch table and exchanged pleasantries with Tiger. When Tiger asked him how he was doing, Shaq said, ‘Trying to get through this thing with my knee,’ and Tiger had nodded knowingly.”
This passage comes after Haney argues that Tiger consistently risked injury with a training program that was unnecessarily hard on his body.
As the theory goes, Tiger sees injuries as an element of his legitimacy as an athlete. That’s why he keeps working out like crazy and refuses to wait until his body is fully healed to come back.
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