Dr. David Chao: British Open May Be Tiger Woods’ Last/Best Chance for a Major

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St. Andrews may be his best (and last) chance to ever win a major again and Tiger Woods knows it. That is why he skipped the U.S Open to make sure he was ready for this British Open. Admittedly with only an outside shot to win, his path only gets harder in the future as he deals with injury and father time.

Woods loves the Old Course and is the only current two-time winner (2000 and 2005) there. He has the familiarity, experience, guile and skill to play the unusual 18 holes to his advantage. There is no flatter tract and that will favor his ankle. He will be 51 by the time the British Open returns to St. Andrews again.

Meanwhile, Tiger will never return to 100% on his leg. In addition to a forever stiff ankle due to post-traumatic arthritis, he has lost a significant portion of his right calf muscle,

The picture proves out the original worry at the time of the accident for extensive soft tissue damage in addition to the multiple fractures.

A majority of his calf muscle likely was used as a flap to help cover exposed bone to save his leg and there is a split thickness skin graft to cover some of the wounds. Woods talked about coming close to losing a limb just this week.

It has been about a year and a half after the injury and his leg will not get and stronger due to the loss of muscle and the ankle arthritis and loss of motion is likely to only get worse. He acknowledge this before playing in Augusta saying if his ankle was going to hurt next year too, why not just play this year.

No question he has surpassed expectations by making the Masters and PGA Championship cuts before faltering. His ankle was no match for the hilly terrain in Augusta leading to all-time high 78s for rounds 3 and 4. At the PGA, he petered out and withdrew for Sunday’s round. He then skipped the U.S. Open due to his health issues.

Walking and playing multiple rounds are a challenge and the level terrain at St. Andrews gives him the best chance to hold up. Remember he is still dealing with a spine fusion as well.

It will still take a superhuman effort from Woods to finish in contention or win. Even Tiger acknowledges his window to play at a championship level is “definitely not as long” as he would like it to be. This British Open presents one of those final chances.

Written by Dr. David Chao

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.


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  1. Your not really serious are you doc” best chance winning a major” wow have you seen Eldricks last two outings last place and last place drop out and just shot a 77 round your losing credibility saying things like this Eldricks days of top level tournament golf are done. He doesn’t love this course anymore than the Masters how’d that work out for him really bizarre stuff here lol

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