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Chronicling Tiger Woods’ injuries over the years

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Most golf fans don't know it, but Tiger Woods has been dealing with injuries for almost his entire golf career.

Back in 1994, when Woods was a freshman at Stanford, he had two benign tumors and scar tissue removed from his left knee, starting a stretch of 17 years of on and off pain.

Woods claims the knee feels as good as it has in "years," but we won't know if that's truly the case until he logs 72 pain-free holes.

We've all seen him wince in pain over the last few years, but to better understand the magnitude of his injuries on his career, it's best if we chronicle things from the start.

December 1994 - Woods has surgery to remove two benign tumors and scar tissue in his left knee during his freshman year at Stanford. The surgery at such an early age is a harbinger of things to come over the next 17 years.

December 2002 - After winning three of his final eight events of the season, including the U.S. Open, Woods has knee surgery to remove fluid around his ACL. It's the second time in eight years he's gone under the knife.

Despite missing the first five events of the '03 season, he returns at the Buick Invitational feeling positive about the surgery and time off: "I know I'm not 100 percent yet, but it's pretty darned close," Woods said on his return. "It's a heck of a lot better than it was last year, let me tell you that."

He wins the Buick and goes on to win four more titles during the season.

July 2007 - While running at home after the 2007 British Open, Woods ruptures the ACL in his left knee, but decides against having surgery. Incredibly, he goes on to win five of his next six events, including the 2007 PGA Championship at Southern Hills.

Woods then goes another eight months before finally agreeing to have surgery in April of 2008.

April 2008 - Following a second-place finish at the Masters, Woods decides to have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to repair cartilage damage, just two days after the first major of the year.

His U.S. Open chances are suddenly thrown into doubt, as he undergoes his second knee surgery in five years.

"I made the decision to deal with the pain and schedule the surgery for after the Masters," Woods said. "The upside is that I have been through the process before and know how to handle it."

June 2008 - Just prior to the start of the U.S. Open, Woods is advised by doctors to not play at Torrey Pines. With two stress fractures in his left tibia, doctors set the timetable at six weeks.

But despite their pleas for rest, Woods doesn't listen. According to former swing coach Hank Haney, Woods looked at the doctor and said: "I'm playing the U.S. Open, and I'm going to win." Haney said, "He was not going to miss the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. There just wasn't any discussion."

June 2008 - Just eight days after his improbable 19-hole playoff win at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, where Woods played most of the tournament on one leg, he has reconstructive surgery on the ACL in his left knee, also repairing cartilage damage in the process.

"There will be debate whether he rushed back for the U.S. Open," said Woods' agent Mark Steinberg. "But I don't think there will be any debate that he rushes back from his next surgery. He won't need to."

December 2008 - While rehabbing his left knee, Woods ruptures his right Achilles tendon, adding insult to injury as he's working his way back from major knee surgery.

May 2010 - Following his return to golf after five months dealing with personal issues, Tiger withdraws with an unknown injury on the seventh hole during the final round at The Players Championship. Reports claim it could be a bulging disk, but it's later diagnosed as inflammation in his neck.

December 2010 - Two years after Woods ruptured his Achilles during his knee rehab, Woods reportedly has a cortisone shot in his right ankle.

April 2011 - Trying to hit a Seve Ballesteros-like shot from under a tree on the 17th hole during the third round of the Masters, Woods re-injures his left knee. The injury ends up being a minor sprain to the MCL in his left knee and strain of his left Achilles tendon.

Woods confirms he'll only miss a "few weeks" with the injury, and returns one month later at The Players Championship.

May 2011 - Nine holes into his first round at The Players Championship, Woods limps off the course after firing a 6-over 42. He meets with reporters before being whisked away in a courtesy car.

"The knee acted up, and then the Achilles followed after that," Woods said, "and then the calf started cramping up. Everything started getting tight."

August 2011 - Following a three-month layoff, Woods makes his return at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and claims he's pain-free.

"The great thing is I don't feel a thing," Wood said. "It feels solid, it feels stable, no pain. As I said, that's one of the reasons why I took as long as I did to come back is that I want to get to this point where I can go ahead and start playing golf again like this."

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