Tiger Woods has played significant portions of his career dealing with injuries – you could argue that his ''one-legged'' playoff victory in the 2008 U.S. Open is one of his greatest moments. Even so, it was a little bit shocking to see Tiger go the ground when his back spasmed on the 13th hole of the final round of The Barclays on Sunday.
As you can see in the photo above – and as you might have seen on TV – Woods took a cut and, as Associated Press Golf Writer Doug Ferguson described it, ''hooked a fairway metal so far left that it landed in a swamp on the other side of the 15th fairway. Woods dropped to all fours in pain before slowly getting up.''
Woods also bogeyed the 15th hole, then, as Ferguson said, ''gamely fought back with birdies on the 16th and 17th holes to get within one.''
Needing one final birdie to get into a playoff with Adam Scott, Woods' putt from off the 18th green came up just short.
Woods battled stiffness in his lower back all week, which he attributed to a soft bed in his hotel room, said Ferguson, who noted that this was the second straight year Woods has had back issues from a mattress at The Barclays. TV viewers often saw Woods wincing in pain and trying to stretch his back throughout the tournament, but nothing seemed serious until his incident on the 13th hole.
After his round, Woods said that his spasming actually began on his tee shot in the 12th hole, and ''13 just kind of accentuated it.''
When asked if his problem was a back spasm, he replied, ''Oh, yeah, big time. It's definitely spasming.''
Woods said he ''felt great'' Sunday until that tee shot on the 12th hole. ''I was perfectly fine,'' he said. ''I was playing pretty good, and I was hanging right there.''
The next FedExCup playoff event, the Deutsche Bank Championship outside of Boston, is a big supporter of the Tiger Woods Foundation, but Woods didn't sound sure that he'd play. When asked Sunday afternoon, he said, ''That's all hypothetical right now. I just got off and I'm not feeling my best right now.''
By tying for second at The Barclays, Woods keeps his No. 1 playoff seed. After the Deutsche Bank Championship, the PGA Tour has an open week before the BMW Championship Sept. 12-15 in Lake Forest, Ill., followed by the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta on Sept. 19-22.
The life of a tour pro might sound glamorous, but if you follow some of them on social media you quickly realize that they endure the same hassles as the rest of us (except for those lucky dogs who fly private all the time). Flight delays, cancellations and lost luggage happen to most of them at some point and, as is often the case, these problems always seem to happen at the worst possible times.
Mostly, the inconveniences are just that – inconvenient. Occasionally, though, they become truly problematic. That's the situation Kenny Perry finds himself in this week. He and his luggage made it from central New York to Seattle for the Boeing Classic, but somewhere along the way the shaft of his Adams driver was snapped right where the hosel meets the head.
This wasn't just any driver, either – it's ''the one I won all of my tournaments with this year,'' Perry told The Seattle Times after he discovered the broken big stick in his bag. ''It broke the head right off the shaft.''
Perry was upset, needless to say, in large part because he attributes much of his success this season to his driving prowess. And he has been quite successful – he won two senior majors – the U.S. Senior Open and the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship in back-to-back starts. He's amassed nine top-10 finishes in 13 starts this season, and is dominating the Charles Schwab Cup points list.
Adams Golf technicians on-site at TPC Snoqualmie were able to get Perry squared away, reshafting his Super LS 10.5-degree driver with a UST Mamiya VTS silver 60g X flex shaft. Now, it's up to Perry to get the confidence in his driving game back.
''I've been bombing it,'' Perry told the newspaper. ''I've been taking advantage of all the short holes and the par 5s. But that's the only driver I've used all year.''
The irony in this situation is that Perry, like many Adams staff players, is sponsored by Southwest Airlines. His clubs were in a Southwest Airlines-festooned bag – and the big break occurred while Perry was flying Delta.
No one has been more in demand than Dave Stockton as a short-game instructor in recent years. Now, he's getting a chance to influence flatsticks as well as those who use them.
Stockton has signed on with Nike Golf, where he will assist in product development and design – specifically in the realm of putters.
''I'm thrilled to be a part of what I believe is one of the most innovative brands in sports,'' said Stockton. ''I look forward to sharing my putter insights with Nike engineers so they can continue to create amazing product that help golfers putt better.''
Stockton, who received the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from The PGA of America, already serves as putting instructor for some of golf's biggest names, including Nike Golf staff players Rory McIlroy and Suzann Pettersen. His list of students, past and present, also includes Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Morgan Pressel, Annika Sorenstam and Yani Tseng.
He runs his own golf instruction program, Stockton Golf, with his two sons, Ron and Dave Jr. His book, ''Unconscious Putting,'' quickly became a best-seller after its 2011 release, and he followed it up with a sequel, ''Unconscious Scoring,'' earlier this year. He won the PGA Championship in 1970 and 1976, along with nine other PGA Tour titles and 14 Champions Tour victories, played on four victorious U.S. Ryder Cup teams, and captained the 1991 Ryder Cup team to victory.