03/03/2015 10:41 GMT | Updated 03/05/2015 06:59 BST

Tiger Woods - 14 Majors and Still Counting?

The Masters is looming large on the horizon and the denizens of golf are preparing to descend upon Augusta National in their droves, to take in the sights and sounds of their sports first major of the season and hopefully bear witness to golfing greatness.

However, lovers of the game (like myself) are once again facing the prospect of there being a notable absentee from this the 79th edition of the most prestigious of golfing spectacles - the incomparable (and increasingly injury ravaged) Tiger Woods.

For his entire golfing life, Woods has been dreaming of the number 19. That is the number of major championship wins he needs to topple the great Jack Nicklaus and unequivocally become the GOAT (greatest-of-all-time).

But, as father time waits for no man, are we witnessing the beginning of the end for Eldrick Tont Woods?

Do his persistent injuries mean that we have seen the very last of the very best of him?

Or is there something more to it?


Prior to last year's Masters - won for a second time by the wonderfully monikered Bubba Watson - Woods decided to meet his injury problems head-on and underwent a microdiscectomy, meaning he missed the party in Richmond County for the first time since he made his debut there in 1995.

The invasive procedure - that involves the removal of bone and nerve endings from the spine - was performed in the hope that Woods would come back stronger this year, remain injury free and once again be capable of challenging the young bucks who've usurped him at the top of the game.

Though certainly painful, and no doubt limiting the amount of pain-free practice he could do, Tiger's surgery was successful and the 14-time major winner was more than confident that he had as many years littered with triumph left in front of him, as he has had behind him.

The question I ask now is - How wrong might he actually have been?

Since that operation in March 2014, Woods has entered a total of seven tournaments, completed only two, missed the cut in three more and pulled out through injury in the remainder; a record that points glaringly to an almost undoubted and unmitigated decline.

This February, at the Phoenix Open, he hit his worst ever round in professional golf (82) and missed the cut by 12 strokes, before again suffering with his back and lasting just 11 holes a week later at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines (scene of his injury ravaged miracle at the 2008 US Open).

Though his talent is not (yet) in question, there appears to be a feeling throughout the game that the increasing frequency with which he either pulls out of tournaments, or quits half way round, is the slow and deliberate death knell of a career that seems hell bent on being ruined by injury.

The chronic nature of his back injuries are no doubt a contributing factor to his fall from golfing grace, but there is a lot to be said for his mental approach to the game too and there is arguably a bigger and less obvious spectre that is beginning to haunt him - the big 40.

The fact is that Woods still needs another 5 major victories to overtake The Great Bear at the head of the GOAT pack and, sadly for him, golfers over 40 (especially chronically injured golfers) very rarely win majors.

No professional golfer has won more than 3 majors after turning 40 and only four men have ever done it at all. Woods is approaching what the experts of the game call 'the drop-off point' - whereby almost all golfers' performance drops precipitously after the age of 39.

These facts, married to the seemingly endless run of retirements and missed cuts that are plaguing the latter stages of his career, mean you'd be forgiven for thinking that his number is up and if he is serious about making further in-roads into that Nicklaus record, at the very least he needs to start this year at Augusta.

So come on Tiger, cast off those shackles of doubt, put a stop to this reliance on injury as an excuse for failure and visit us at for some tips and advice on how best to diagnose, treat and rehabilitate yourself following injury.

We may not be able to do anything about your age (if only), but we sure can point you in the right direction when it comes to banishing your injury demons and getting back to your best. You turn 40 in December and we hope between now and then to have seen you in that famous green jacket one more time.

No pressure.

See you in Georgia in April, we hope.