Category Archives: Golf

Can Tiger Woods return?

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CAN TIGER WOODS PERFORM TO PRE-INJURY LEVEL FOLLOWING BACK SURGERY?

Tiger Woods has recently announced that he will be returning to competitive golf in time for the PGA Hero World Challenge 2017. 

The news is in light of Woods’ absence from competitive golf since 2015 following a back injury which resulted in a series of surgical intervention and pain medication.

Initially, Woods began complaining of lower back spasms during his rounds whilst competing which previously impacted on his performance since 2015.  However, it wasn’t until April 2017 that he announced that he had just undergone ‘successful back surgery to alleviate ongoing pain in his back and leg’.  The announcement went on to explain that his bottom lower-back disc severely narrowed, causing sciatica and severe back and leg pain.  The surgery involved removing the damaged disc and re-elevating the collapsed disc space to normal levels allowing the one vertebrae to heal to the other.  

Tiger Woods recently underwent a practise round of gold with Patrick Reed, a former WGC Cadillac champion.  Reed evaluates that ‘this time he was fully committed and fully trusting his body that there would be no pain.  If he says healthy and his body cooperates the way it is supposed to, he’ll be back to playing golf, hopefully like he used to play”.

In light of the news, we have conducted a Q&A session with Mr Bob Chatterjee of Harley Street Spine and Highgate Private Hospital to determine whether Woods’ back will have recovered sufficiently to perform in the Hero World Challenge at his optimum level prior to any back injury.

Is lower back pain and even Sciatica a condition that is common for those who regularly or competitively play golf?

Almost certainly. A professional golfers swing can put significant strain on the lower back of a golfer. The lumbar disc is able to withstand compression well, but less able to withstand the twisting or torsion generated whilst creating a coil in the golfer’s upswing. The acceleration then unleashed in the downswing magnifies the generated torque applied to the disc causing repetitive injury to the disc.

Wood’s recent surgery involved removing the damaged disc and re-aligning the remaining discs.  What method / technique would the surgeon have likely used to do this?

Tiger would have had a lumbar fusion done on this third occasion. The first two surgeries involved removing disc fragments that had burst free from his lowest lumbar disc and pressed upon the nerve. Although this was initially successful, the difficulty was that when you’ve lost disc material as a result of a slipped disc, the body has no way of regenerating the lost disc. Eventually this leads to thinning of the disc. The disc is normally a filler between two vertebrae. The loss of disc height means that the vertebrae move closer to each other. The nerve which normally leaves the spinal column via a route between the vertebrae then gets pinched as the vertebrae are now closer together. In this situation, the disc height needs to be restored and Tiger has had a metal hollow cage implanted between the vertebrae after the remaining disc was scooped out. The hollow cage contains artificial bone which eventually after a few months grows into the vertebra above and below therefore linking them together with living bone. The is called a ALIF (anterior lumbar interbody fusion). One big advantage to Tiger is that this is placed through a frontal approach to the spine, going by the side of the abdominal contents. This therefore avoids further damage to the muscles of Tiger’s back which were causing him spasms. It is interesting, that even though he was at a centre for disc replacement, a fusion was performed rather than a lumbar disc replacement, although in my opinion that was the correct decision.

Will Woods be able to perform to his optimum level as he did previous to this injury? 

To a degree. The back never returns to 100%, but it doesn’t need to. With his swing coach, Tiger has reconstructed his swing to lessen the torque/twisting being applied to his lower back and is relying on timing as much as power. As Sir Nick Faldo once said ‘don’t hit it harder, hit it better…). Provided he is pain free and comfortable in his movements, he should be able to return as a serious contender. Although at his level of sport, the mental side of recovering from injury is as important.

Is there a likely chance that the injury could happen again?

Not at the lowest level, as the disc has been removed entirely. However, once you’ve had a disc prolapse in one area, the risk is slightly increased that it could occur again in another part of the spine.

What are the new methods/techniques that are currently available for an injury such as this?

There are newly available disc augmentation techniques that can be implanted into a disc. These implants then absorb water to swell the disc up to try to restore the lost disc height. They are injectable, so don’t involve major surgery, and early results from Germany are promising. But they need to be used before the disc degenerates too far.

What is the World’s Most Boring Game?

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GOLF IS OFFICIALLY THE WORLD’S MOST BORING SPORT ACCORDING TO RESEARCH

Golf has beaten off competition from cricket, snooker and BRIDGE to be crowned the world’s most BORING game.

The snoozeworthy sport was invented in Scotland in 1497 and has been putting spectators to sleep ever since.

However, it hasn’t stopped it becoming one of the world’s most popular games, with the US Open offering a prize of over $2 million to the winner. And there are 118 countries in the International Golf Federation, making it one of the most globally popular sports ever created.

boring golf

All the same, 39 per cent of Brits voted golf the most boring game, even beating chess, draughts and bowls. The poll of 2,000 adults also found almost one in 10 have put on videos of golf or snooker at night to help them fall asleep.

Gregory Tatton-Brown, a spokesman for online casino Casumo.com, who commissioned the research, said: “Brits have a funny relationship with sports that many people would consider ‘boring’.

“Some people almost enjoy the fact that their favourite sports are dull as dishwater, as it gives them a sense of pride about loving something most people can’t understand.

“But for the vast majority of us, their confusing rules and slow pace mean they’re impenetrable to all but the most dedicated followers.”

Cricket was second on the list of the dullest sports in the world, with bridge coming in third and chess in fourth place. And the top five was rounded out by snooker, with a quarter of the population saying it was the most boring sport in the land. Fully half of the nation would rather clean their house from top to bottom than be forced to watch a dull sport.

And almost three in 10 would rather spend Saturday afternoon trailing around IKEA behind their partner than watch a game of cricket. One quarter of respondents have had a boring game forced on them by a friend or loved one, who were desperately trying to show off the sport’s virtues – to no avail.

And eight in ten Brits say they don’t even have a clue what the rules are for cricket, with two thirds saying the same about snooker.

One in three Brits was forced to play netball at school, and a fifth had to play rugby or football – with a less-than-thrilled 16 per cent made to chase a cricket ball around during their school days.

And a measly four per cent of Brits now play cricket as adults – preferring to avoid it entirely. Some of the top ways a sport makes itself boring include simply nothing interesting ever seeming to happen, and games that take entire days to complete.

And a fifth of the nation also gets wound up when a match can take an age to complete, without even having a clear winner and loser at the end. More than a quarter of Brits laments the fact that their partner watches a sport that’s incredibly dull.

The OnePoll.com study also found four in 10 have tried to impose a ban on boring sports on TV in the house, although one quarter of put-upon sports fans will find a way to watch anyway. Gregory Tatton-Brown added: “Our results found the average Brit watches almost four and a half hours of sport a week on TV.

“If you’re someone who finds the sport they watch teeth-grindingly dull, that can feel like a lifetime.

“Luckily, the games found at Casumo.com could never be described as boring – we exist to promote excitement, after all.”

THE TOP 30 MOST BORING GAMES IN THE WORLD

1. Golf
2. Cricket
3. Bridge
4. Chess
5. Snooker
6. Dressage
7. Fishing
8. Darts
9. Bowls
10. Football
11. Draughts
12. Formula One
13. Show jumping
14. Ultimate Frisbee
15. Horse racing
16. American football
17. Rugby
18. Curling
19. Tennis
20. Boxing
21. Fencing
22. Baseball
23. Netball
24. Ten-pin bowling
25. Water polo
26. Archery
27. Superbike racing
28. Gymnastics
29. Hurling
30. Diving

Whistling Straits awaits


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Maybe predicting Shane Lowry was a good tip to win The Open Championship at St Andrews last month was a bit premature from me. Maybe not though, I still believe he could have been up there, except for that disastrous eight he got on the infamous par-4 17th road hole. He proved that just last weekend with his first win on US soil at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational title in Ohio against some top names. Well played Shane.

Rory’s back! For me this could go two ways for him after his “football” injury and recent time off. Yes he’ll get around with a good score and with no real trouble, that goes without saying these day. He will not quite have enough to challenge and pick up as many birdies as we come to expect thought and he’ll leave the tournament relatively happy to be back.

Or he comes back so relaxed, refreshed and raring to go that he smashes the field and runs away with it, personally I cannot see that happening for a while now. Not with Jordan Spieth in the form he’s currently in, challenging for every single tournament he competes in and reminding us how dominant Tiger was all those years back.

Whistling Straights is the venue again for the 97th US PGA Championship, having previously held it here twice before back in 2004 and 2010. On both those occasions the winner was decided by a play off, which says it’s very difficult for one player to break away with a huge lead.

Whistling Straits4

Bubba lost on that occasion to Martin Kaymer but a lot of the usual suspects this time around did well last time too. The likes of Zack Johnson, Jason Dufner, Jason Day, along with Mcllroy were all up there.

Maybe the American Nick Watney can go well again like last time, so he’s my outside tip and he goes out first with Brit Ian Poulter. Then two other Brits to keep an eye on, obviously Justin Rose but not forgetting Danny Willett. Good luck boys.

I love watching the major US golf tournaments, mainly time wise too for us watching in the UK. You can get your jobs done, go to work but then mid/late afternoon when you get home you know you can sit down for the rest of evening to chill out and watch some outstanding golf. The Sunday evening finale is always special too, especially when it’s a close run thing and you have the a few players just one shot behind the leader and definitely in contention.

Happy times, enjoy the next four days. First tea off is just an hour away at 12.45pm BST.

I’ll be watching but this time next week I’ll be overseas myself on my fourth golfing holiday. Myself and a few friends have done it for the last four years now and this year we’re off to the Guadalmina Club de Golf in Malaga, Spain. Can’t wait!

Whistling Straits2

St Andrews set for high winds

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All the talk should now be about what is going to happen between tomorrow and Sunday, in the 144th Open Championship from St Andrews. In recent weeks we’ve had Tiger’s “comeback”, Rory’s footballing skills and of course the recent outstanding performances of 21 year old Jordan Spieth.

There has been a lot of focus (and rightly so) on these three over the last few weeks in the build up to The Open at the home of golf. There is not much for me to add about these three great golfing talents except it’s certainly not going to be easy this weekend.

St-Andrews

Rory’s out injured anyway, Tiger you just never know now and who is to say Spieth cannot and will not win the third straight major this year. Well, the likes of Ricky Fowler, Louis Oosthuizen, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Bubba may have something to say.

The current focus though is the weather, with rumours of 40mph gusts of wind tomorrow, with Friday expected to be even worse. How will the golfers handle this, and not just the conditions out on the course. Strong winds like that and there could be cause for play to be suspended, which is another obstacle for players to mentally handle.

I’m sure the guys I’ve mentioned above will be fine as they’ve previously proved over the years. Luke Donald isn’t a bad shout for a very outside bet, but again I’m sure there will be questions marks?

I believe both Henrik Stenson and Martin Kaymer will be ones to watch as I don’t see much focus on them, they can just quietly go about their business. I’m going to stick my neck out though and say Shane Lowry can give it a serious go and improve on last years tied ninth place.

We’ll see, first tea off tomorrow is 6.32am.

On a another note, I’ve played in Scotland myself once when I stayed at a friend’s place. We’d been to visit John o’ Groats a few years back and before I came back we had a lovely round of golf at Thurso Golf Club. What a superb, but cold afternoon of golf.