When Tiger Wood first hit the scene, one of the "non-PC" comments whispered around every clubhouse was that this kid was "bred" to play golf. Now, you'll probably agree that the word "bred" was a poor choice, but it certainly captures the impetus of the thoughts about the then-Eldrick "Tiger" Woods and the instant impact he had on golf worldwide.
Tiger brought with him a game that led everyone to expect him to go after each and every par five in two shots...and he often obliged.
One of the reasons for these expectations was that Tiger had, we were told, committed himself to a rigorous (if not humanly unthinkable) fitness regimen. No longer would the stereotyped aspects of golf—smoking, rotund physiques and "beverage" drinking—be the norm! Nothing but fruit, protein bars and water bottles would be seen on TV, and only a player pictured as a caricature of himself smoking would be published.
There has always been an assertion that Tiger fired his first real caddy on the Tour, "Fluff" McGowan, because "Fluff" was not interested in Tiger's fitness requirements.
We have long been taught that paying attention to fitness would be the first line of prevention against injuries, and Tiger's fitness statement seemingly confirmed it. Unfortunately, that line of thinking has turned out to be questionable at best.
Today, more and more articles are being written within the Pediatric and Orthopedic communities which point out that excessive fitness regimens may do more harm than good. A quote from one of these such reports pretty much sums up the theory as it pertains to Tiger:
"Results of this over-enthusiastic exercise regimen puts this age group at risk for orthopedic injury and all-too-often, surgeries. Hips, knees, arthritic flare-ups, bursitis and even fractures were cited as common injuries sustained by people in their 40s 50s and 60s."
Tiger is 35 years old. With the professional community reaching a consensus on the possible negative impacts of intensive fitness regimens, do the physical problems Tiger is going through speak volumes as a referendum on fitness?
I certainly believe so...and the knee I've had two operations on agrees !!!