Tiger Woods was supposed to make a huge return in 2012. However, he once again faces questions about his future. After being forced to withdraw from the WGC-Cadillac Championship in the final round, Woods' status for the Masters is up in the air. The golfer aggravated an injured Achilles. He had a similar injury in 2011, and it spoiled his summer. Woods missed two majors due to issues related to the injury.
Could his status for 2012 be in jeopardy? There is definitely cause for concern.
Ever since 2009, injuries have impacted Woods. His lower body has forced him to miss several events in each of the last few years. In 2011, he was forced to bail out of The Players Championship and ended up missing the U.S. Open and the British Open. He seemed to recover and started to look like the Tiger of old toward the end of 2011. Despite not earning a win, he was off to a decent start in 2012. But Woods said that he felt a strain in his Achilles before he began the final round. Clearly, the injury got worse and was finished after 11 holes.
What happens now? We won't know anything until the injury is evaluated further. But Woods is slated to play in Bay Hill in two weeks. The Masters follows two weeks after that. The best case scenario probably involves Woods skipping Bay Hill and resting until he gets to the Masters. But if his injury is really as serious as it seems, there is a good chance that Tiger could miss the first major of the year. That would be a major blow in terms of his comeback.
Despite all of his struggles, Woods is still a dominant force at Augusta. He has finished in the top six at the Masters every year since 2005. If he was going to continue his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus, the Masters was his best opportunity to get started. However, Woods is once again facing an obstacle. We might not know his status for Augusta for a little while. But based on recent history I would say that there is a better chance that Woods doesn't play than there is that he does play.
No matter what happens, the latest setback means that 2012 will be just as uncertain for Woods as the last few years.* - Mark Paul is an avid golf fan. He has watched and played the game since high school.
- Tiger Woods