Crouching Tiger, Limping Golfer: What Gives?

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 11: PGA Player Tiger Woods attends the Chevron World Challenge - Host Tiger Woods makes press announcement for 2011 Field and Putt with local fans held at the Hollywood & Highland Courtyard on October 11, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Fair warning for the readers of this post: there's gonna be quite a bit of speculation to follow this sentence. Just laying it all out there for you right from the start.

So Tiger Woods withdrew from another golf tournament this weekend due to yet another leg injury. He later explained that his Achilles tendon is to blame this time, which may be related to an earlier surgical procedure Woods had a couple years ago.

But a couple questions come to mind when thinking about Woods' recent rash of injuries.

Tiger Woods appears to be quite the physical specimen in terms of athletic ability and conditioning; anyone can tell that much by just looking at the guy. His growth in both size and power has increased over the years since first bursting onto the PGA TOUR scene as a scrawny young adult back in the late 90's. He usually appears to be in tip-top shape.

So why does a man who obviously takes care of his body continue to succumb to injuries, specifically those of the fatigue variety?

Speculation #1: Tiger's body is shutting down due to a change in "supplements."

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this speculation - primarily because I have no evidence to support this claim - but there have been rumors that Tiger's relationship with Dr. Anthony Galea wasn't exactly honorable. What I do know, however, is that athletes who stop taking performance-enhancing drugs due tend to succumb to injury more often during the "down-cycle" especially if their training intensity remains unchanged. This is especially true in the example of fatigue-related injuries, such as a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Speculation #2: Tiger's obsession with the military overworked his body.

We all know about the book by now, and Hank Haney certainly isn't hiding the fact that Tiger was obsessed with the military. Haney even goes so far as explaining how Woods would participate in Navy SEAL exercises at various military bases during golf trips. This even filtered over into his off-days, which included long runs in combat boots that also irked Woods' physical therapist. Could these exercises fueled by an obsession be the cause of Tiger's body fatigue and resulting injuries over time? It would certainly make sense.

Speculation #3: Tiger's leg injuries are simply due to his swing mechanics.

This option may have been more likely back in the day, but after making numerous swing changes to help protect his knee (primarily through Haney) it seems the least likely at this point. Tiger's work with Sean Foley seems to focus more on compacting his swing into as few extra moving parts as possible, which includes quieting his lower body. We don't see Tiger's trademark knee-snap on his left leg anymore at follow-through, so that alone pays credence to the notion that he doesn't have as much action in the lower half of his body as he did prior to injury.

Speculation #4: Tiger's body is just reacting normally for someone who has had numerous surgical procedures.

This seems to be the most likely verdict, as it focus only on the facts: Tiger's had some work done on his wheels, and his body has to react in some manner. Flexibility can be lowered due to scar tissue. Muscles can atrophy immediately following surgery and have to be re-strengthened over time. Anyone who has ever healed from a surgical procedure knows that your body isn't the same as it was prior to the operation.

Let's also not forget that Tiger isn't in his 20's anymore.

Whatever the reasoning behind his recent injury troubles, one thing is clear about Tiger: he continues to work as hard as he ever has in terms of physical fitness. Following his most recent WD this weekend, however, changes in his approach to fitness may be in order to ensure the longevity of his career.

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