There’s no doubt that Tiger Woods’ U.S. Open victory was incredible.
His 12-foot putt to force the playoff after being down the first two rounds was incredible.
The playoff round was incredible and the sudden-death 19th hole was incredible.
And you better believe that on Monday morning, I was up at 5:58 a.m., just in time to heat up my leftovers for breakfast and sit and watch the playoff 18 holes.
I watched every second of its dual-network coverage.
But after news broke that Woods had injured his knee worse and that he was playing with a double stress fracture in his left tibia, I was actually upset.
When he said he was having season-ending surgery, I was shaking my head and giving my computer screen with the story in front of me the wag-of-the-finger.
Trust me, I know I’m in the minority on this issue. I’ve seen the polls asking if Woods should or shouldn’t have played. One of the questions went something along the lines of: “Would you have rather seen Tiger Woods play in the U.S. Open and miss the rest of the season?” “Or would you have had him skip the U.S. Open and play the rest of the year?”
Of course, I was one of the some 20 percent who said he should not have played.
It just wasn’t the smart thing to do for his health. I’m a big advocate of following the doctor’s orders. If they say it’s too dangerous to play, that means keep off the legs.
I know Woods is making a run to break Jack Nicklaus’ 18-major wins and that winning the Open gave him 14, but seriously, what’s the rush?
Nicklaus got to 14 when he was 35 years old. Woods is only 32 and is clearly on pace to break the record. Then why risk aggravating an injury that could make things worse just for another trophy? Yes, it’s the U.S.’s national championship, but he’ll win it again. Several more times I’m sure, but I don’t understand why he had to win this one, now.
Woods said in a statement: “Now, it is clear that the right thing to do is to listen to my doctors, follow through with this surgery and focus my attention on rehabilitating my knee.”
You know when a good time to listen to your doctors is? When you’re at the doctor’s office and he’s telling you to take it easy.
I know at the trophy ceremony, Woods said there was no way he could have quit in front of this crowd — which was about the population of Kaua‘i — and I admired that at the time, but at some point you have to think of your health first.
Don’t get me wrong. I love watching Woods play because he is able to make almost every shot. I play better after watching him play because I picture his swings in my head before I take mine. But now, we won’t see any more of Woods until next year.
And who’s to say that he’ll be at 100 percent then? His swing coach Hank Haney said he just might be back better than ever. But, who’s to say that if he gets hurt, that he’ll take the necessary steps to rehabilitate himself then? He didn’t now.
Woods has been ranked No. 1 for 500 weeks, has 65 victories, 14 of them being majors.
Even though he’s only played in seven tournaments this year — that’s half the number of tournaments the field has played in — he’s still at the top of FedEx Cup points rankings.
Woods should think less of that for now and think more about his overall health.
We love you, Woods. We’re always rooting for you and I’m especially rooting for you to come back and visit Kaua‘i. Just put aside all the winning and get better so that we can enjoy watching you play in many more tournaments to come.
See you next Masters.
• Lanaly Cabalo, sports editor, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or firstname.lastname@example.org