The left knee giving Tiger Woods trouble this week, causing him to skip the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, has been a problem at various times throughout his career. He's had surgery performed on the knee three times, most recently after limping to a win at the U.S. Open in 2008. In fact this isn't the first time the left knee has caused him to miss the tournament at Quail Hollow; a year after winning there in 2007, Woods had surgery on the knee after the Masters and didn't play again until that fateful U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
Woods, who joined the PGA Tour in 1996, first had surgery performed on that left knee in December 2002, ending one of the most successful portions of his career. It was a seemingly minor procedure, as he had fluid drained from the knee, but he had been favoring it near the end of the year, according to the Associated Press:
Woods was limping and wincing toward the end of the '02 season, and it was not surprising to find out he had surgery that kept him out two months, most of that over the holidays.
Wood didn't win another Major until 2005, after a swing change with new coach Hank Haney that put less stress on that left knee; he won the 2005 Masters, the 2005 and '06 British Open and the '06 PGA Championship.
But Woods' left knee continued to get worse. After playing in pain for a year and a half, Woods had arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage in the knee in April, two days after the 2008 Masters. The procedure was performed by Thomas Rosenberg, the same doctor who operated on Woods in 2002. Originally hoping to get back on the course at the Memorial in late May, Woods didn't compete again until the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, which he won in dramatic fashion to earn his 14th major title ... at a great cost. Woods played in pain (pictured below) and needed a 19-hole playoff to wrap up the victory.
The surgery Woods had in August 2008 was a reconstructive procedure that built a new ACL. He didn't play a competitive round of golf for eight months but came back strong, winning six times in 2009.
Woods' most recent injury, announced today on his website, is being called a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his left knee, and he also has a mild strain of his left Achilles tendon. Woods won't have surgery, but he'll miss the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow and said he expects to be back "in a few weeks." That means Woods probably will miss the PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass, which is schedule for May 12-15. His next regular event would have been the Byron Nelson Championship at TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas, scheduled for May 26-29.