Those who have met me know that golf is one of my greatest passions.
I love everything about it.
Arnold Palmer described it best:
“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening - and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.”
Every golf aficionado has debated what the secret to golf is. Of the multiple facets of golf, I routinely hear distance, control, short game, putting, accuracy, good ball contact, or a certain club type being the answer to this question. I’ve debated this with myself since I was caddy in high school, before I even played golf. It wasn’t until around the second year of Chiropractic school that I started to “get it” and form my own answer.
When I really broke it down: Longevity. It is, hands down, THE most important aspect of anyone’s golf game. I don’t mean being longer off the tee than everyone. I mean, “How long can you stay in this game?” Golf is overtly stressful on your body, and taking care of it in order to play for years to come is paramount, from my standpoint. Don’t get me wrong, the more qualities you have that I mentioned before, the better. If you have distance, control, accuracy, good ball contact, clubs that fit, a solid short game and putting, then the Tour is waiting for you! Despite not making it to the Tour, the majority of golfers I know still love, and want, to compete. Whether it’s playing against yourself and your last score, or whooping your best buddy in a game of Skins, winning in golf feels good.
This brings us to look at the players who do win: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, and Dustin Johnson have all been the World’s #1. What else do these players have in common? They’ve all had multiple injuries that have affected their longevity as the World’s Best Golfer. Both Rory McIlroy and Jason Day had injuries this past January (along with past injuries) that inhibited their game: Rory with a fractured rib and Jason Day with an annular tear in the lumbar spine. Dustin Johnson was fresh off a 3-win streak when he fell and hurt his back the night before this year’s Masters Tournament, ruining his chances, and quite possibly risking his current World’s #1 position.
But let’s focus on Tiger Woods, the smoking gun in the case for longevity. In 2007, Tiger ruptured his ACL, plus had knee surgery, tore his Achilles’ tendon, and had a double stress fracture in his tibia, all in 2008. As a chiropractor, it’s no coincidence that 2007 and 2008 were his LAST Major victories. To compound matters, he’s had golf related injuries or surgeries EVERY YEAR from 2008 to present day. He missed his entire 2016 golf season due to back surgeries. That’s 10 consecutive years of injuries and surgeries!
I don’t think I’ve ever been debated in saying that Tiger Woods WAS the most dominant player in golf. And that breaks my heart. In 2006, it was almost a given that Tiger would break Jack Nicklaus’s Major Wins record. Now, it’s almost a given that feat is impossible. If Tiger could go back and sacrifice some yards off the tee, with no injuries, to still be dominant today, I’d like to think he would. Bottom line: TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY!
When I think of golf, I still think about winning, but in a different way. I want to win the longevity contest. I want to be the man still shooting consistent scores at 93 years old while my former golfing partners have their butt imprinted in their rocking chair. After his back injury, Dustin Johnson said, “One thing I never want to do again is watch a major from my couch.” A sentiment Tiger now knows all too well.