Language in Tiger Woods’ statements put golf on back burner, possibly for good

Tiger Woods will never officially retire.

No golfer ever really retires. Other athletes retire so that they can play golf, and golfers just … keep playing golf. Retirement in golf for superstars means “transitioning onto the PGA Tour Champions and doing fewer commercials,” so why would you hold a press conference for something like that?

Woods has too much to lose by making a formal announcement. The future hope of him once again teeing it up and club-twirling his way down the fairways at Augusta National or St. Andrews feeds the machine that is Tiger Woods as a corporation. And the incentive to turn that off is not lofty.

So Woods will linger and maybe play a little or possibly play a lot based on how the back feels. This is the line of thinking that we have landed on over the last few months and years. The worrisome part for Woods (and golf) fans with the announcement of his fourth back surgery is the language used in three different statements released by Woods and his agent Mark Steinberg.

Let’s take a look at them one by one. 

Statement No. 1: Tiger Woods announces fourth surgery on TigerWoods.com

“When healed, I look forward to getting back to a normal life, playing with my kids, competing in professional golf and living without the pain I have been battling so long.”   

Statement No. 2: Steinberg explains Woods’ thinking to ESPN

“This is the best and only way to have a healthy, active lifestyle, be able to play with his kids, play golf and not be in pain. You can continue to try and do the band-aid approach, but if you want that healthy, active lifestyle, it was recommended that this is the way to go at this point and the doctor was very pleased with the result. Tiger kind of feels a weight off his shoulders as this is a path to recovery.”

Statement No. 3 — Steinberg explains Woods’ thinking to Golf Channel

“He is looking forward to life without pain, looking forward to day-to-day without pain. He’s looking forward to playing with his kids without pain, playing golf without pain. He knows he’s got a long road, but there’s a huge sense of relief right now. His entire emphasis is quality of life and a healthy, active lifestyle. 

“That includes living day-to-day pain-free, playing with his kids, playing competitive golf, going out in the backyard and having fun with his friends. Getting on his boat and doing what he wants in the water. It’s all of that. Living a healthy, active lifestyle is absolutely the priority, and kids and golf and social and all of that’s a part of it.”


The through line here is Woods improving his quality of life. How many times do you see the world “life” or “lifestyle” in those quotes? They read more like someone in their 90s preparing for the final few years of life than someone who just turned 40 trying to win golf tournaments.

More power to Woods for this choice, too. I am not saying it’s incorrect. I am only pointing out that it…

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