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Woods undergoes ankle surgery and future is cloudy

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods - The Canadian Press

After hobbling through a wet and cold day at the Masters two weeks ago with what was described as Plantar Fasciitis, Tiger Woods announced on Wednesday that he has undergone surgery on his ankle.

According to a Tweet posted on Woods’ account, the procedure was “a subtalar fusion to address his post-traumatic arthritis from his previous talus fracture.” Woods first broke his talus in a car crash in 2021 outside of Los Angeles. He underwent numerous procedures after the crash that kept him out of golf for more than a year.

While the details of the surgery are not known, this type of procedure generally requires the patient to remain off his feet for three months. Even after that period, it would be a long time before anyone would be able to return to normal activities let alone championship golf.

“This is the type of procedure you usually get when you’re talking about quality of life,” said Dr. Tej Sahota, a renowned doctor of podiatry who has worked with numerous athletes over his career. “It’s when you decide that you want to be able to walk with your kids, not try play golf.”

Sahota said the described surgery would have dire effects on Woods’ ability to swing. The fusion would prevent eversion and inversion of the feet, meaning they couldn’t move to the outside and inside part of the foot, something necessary on the backswing and downswing.

“It would be like playing golf in cement shoes,” he said. “His feet just wouldn’t be able to move.”

Sahota said this latest procedure could very easily end Woods career, making it next to impossible for the 15-time major champion to swing in a manner that would allow him to be even remotely competitive.

Woods has said on many occasions that he wasn’t sure how many rounds of golf his leg had left in it. At the Masters, he talked about cherishing every time he stepped on to the first tee at Augusta National knowing there was probably a finite number of rounds left. He has also continuously said that he would never play a full schedule again due to the severity of the injuries.

In the short term, the 47-year-old will assuredly be out of next month’s PGA Championship and barring a miraculous recovery, likely the U.S. Open and Open Championship as well.

Since returning from the crash in 2021, Woods has played five tournaments and played all four rounds just twice.