Chamblee weighs in on Tiger’s uncertain future

Golf commentator Brandel Chamblee has weighed into the ongoing debate surrounding Tiger Woods’ fitness and how long his body will allow him to remain competitive on the PGA Tour.

Woods, who last played officially in February at the Genesis Invitational and missed the Players Championship with back pain, made a return to the sport for The Match on May 24, but opted not to participate in last week’s PGA Tour re-start at the Charles Schwab Challenge and is missing again from this week’s RBC Heritage field.

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods (Credit: PGA Tour)

At 44, Woods has had his share of invasive surgery, including a fourth back surgery in 2017 that fused a vertebrae before he returned to win the 2019 Masters, his 15th major. He’s also required five arthroscopic surgeries on his left knee on the same problem joint.

“I think Tiger in his own way has sort of hinted that whatever events he’s going to play the rest of his career are going to be very minimal,” Chamblee said in an interview with Golfweek .

“He, I think, is trying to stretch out his body, you know, the wear and tear on his body, and see how long he can be competitive in major championships…I think he is being very cautious about wearing out his body.”

Chamblee isn’t so sure that the three majors on the 2020 calendar set up well for Woods with the cooler temperatures in San Francisco at the PGA Championship in August, New York at the U.S. Open in September and Augusta, Georgia, at the Masters in November making it more challenging on his ageing back.

“But again I look at the Tiger I saw at ZOZO and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him swing better than that,” said Chamblee.

“But from a physical standpoint, it’s like his body is a wet grocery bag filled with jugs of milk. You just never know when it’s going to burst.”

It reminds us all of the 2008 US Open victory where Woods held on despite the apparent pain in his left knee to claim the major.

Eight days after winning he had surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee, his fourth knee surgery, by using a tendon from his right thigh. Additional cartilage damage was also repaired.

According to many expert sports doctors, knee injuries are often one of the first injuries in golfers and once those mechanics are off, then back injuries usually follow next.

Chamblee still sees Woods as the greatest player of the sport as well as having plenty of pulling power when it comes to attracting fans to the game. A quick look at the fallout from his Masters win in 2019 shows that absolutely none of the fanfare has gone away.

“All of us have gotten to see the greatest golfer of all time and he’s authored two, maybe three of the greatest comebacks the sport has ever seen. So he’s already given us, you know, Secretariat, Brett Favre, Jack Nicklaus all rolled into one. So, what more could we ask for from him?”