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April 6, 2014

Woods' injury leaves void but golf moves on

Is it the end of an era or the beginning of a new one? It’s hard to imagine Tiger Woods regaining the dominating form that he once enjoyed in professional golf under any circumstances at the age of 38. The golf world was jolted this week with the news that Woods would miss The Masters after undergoing back surgery on Monday.

In all likelihood, Woods might not be back at all in 2014. Graham DeLaet, Canadian player, who made his presence known in last year’s President’s Cup missed an entire year with a similar injury. It seems almost certain that Woods will be a no-show at the U.S. Open and the Open Championship. It’s a long shot that he will be in the field at the PGA Championship in Louisville later this summer.

So, life goes on in the professional golf world. Certainly there is a void without Woods, but look at the last five Masters and you will see great, dramatic finishes that did not include Woods. Start with Angel Cabrera’s playoff victory over Kenny Perry in 2009. Phil Mickelson hit the famous shot out of the pine straw on the 13th hole in 2010 and beat Lee Westwood.

The next year it was Charl Schwartzel finishing with an unprecedented four straight birdies to win the 2011 Green Jacket. Bubba Watson beat Louis Ooosthuizen with that incredible second shot from deep in the woods on the 10th hole to win in 2012. Adam Scott canned a putt in the rain on the 10th green to win a thrilling playoff victory over Cabrera last year.

At no time in the past five years has Woods really been in contention at The Masters. Since he was knocked off by Y.E. Yang on the final hole of play at the PGA Championship at Hazeltine in 2009, Tiger has pretty much been a non-factor in all of the majors. He has suffered two severe injuries during that time, the latest to his back while an earlier injury to his knee also forced surgery.

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