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Dr. David Chao: What Does Future Hold for Tiger Woods and His Injured Ankle?

Tiger Woods can claim victory for his four-round appearance at The Masters given his limb-threatening injury. Is it now realistic that he can rejoin the tour full time or win one of the three remaining majors this year?

While not doubting Tiger’s greatness, skill and competitive drive, the answer is a clear “no.” After making a lot of noise in the first two rounds to make the cut, predictably, Woods shot back-to-back 78s, which were his worst career scores in 24 appearances.

Clearly, I was wrong to doubt that Woods would tee off, but certainly, each successive round seemed more painful. Sunday, his limp was visible early, even on flat parts of the course. At the 4th hole, he paused and used his club as a cane to get out of the bunker. By the back nine, his gait was so altered, everyone felt bad for him and hailed him as heroic.

This terrific Masters performance was 411 days and many surgeries from the motor vehicle accident. The PGA Championship starts in just 39 days from now, the US Open in 67 and the British Open in 95 days. Is it realistic to think that a month or two (or three) more after a year plus timetable will have him at 100%? Clearly to think so is not realistic.

The recovery from “fracture disease”, loss of motion and scaring is far from linear. The likelihood is that Woods will never regain all his motion or function. After all, he still can’t wear Nike golf shoes yet.

Of course, Tiger can knock off some rust, he can play and feel better over time but to think it can happen this season to win a major is fool’s gold,

It is great to have Woods back, even if just for majors. To expect him to win or be in contention on Sundays is asking too much.

I am not “hating” on Woods, rather I am respecting the field and the talent of the other golfers. Next year, Tiger will be 47 and “father time” will play a role here too. With a cushion of three, Jack Nicklaus’s major record seems safe.

Written by Pro Football Doc

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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