A History Of Tiger Woods' Injuries

Tiger Woods' professional career has been hampered by multiple injury setbacks

Tiger Woods struggles with injury at The Barclays in 2013
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tiger Woods may have had a brilliant career to date, including 15 Major wins, but It's not been without issue. 

As well as achieving undoubted greatness throughout a career approaching 30 years, the American has also endured a series of injuries from the outset.  He's battled through some to achieve glory, while others have left him facing extended spells out of the game. Here is the timeline of Woods' injuries, from 1994 to the present day. 

December 1994:

Woods has just completed one of the biggest comeback victories in US Amateur Golf history after beating Trip Kuehne despite finding himself six behind with just 13 holes to play, but aged just 18, he has surgery to remove a benign tumor from his left knee.

December 2002:

A glorious year that includes wins at The Masters and the US Open doesn't end well for the 26-year-old as he has a cyst removed from his left knee and fluid drained from around one of his ligaments. Undeterred, he comes back and wins the Buick Invitational in February 2003.

Tiger Woods receives the Green Jacket after winning the 2002 Masters at Augusta National

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September 2006:

One of Woods' standout years includes wins in The Open and PGA Championship among 10 top-five finishes in just 15 starts. After five consecutive starts throughout summer, he injures a muscle in his left shoulder blade but fights through the pain to win the WGC-American Express Championship in October, carding a score of 23-under.

July 2007:

The 31-year-old ruptures his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee soon after The Open. He opts against surgery and goes on to win five of the next six tournaments. That run includes a fourth PGA Championship title, with a second round of 63 - the record for the lowest single-round score at a Major.

April 2008:

The World No.1 undergoes arthroscopic knee surgery following a second-place finish at The Masters at Augusta National

June 2008:

After six weeks off, Woods returns at the US Open and wins despite being visibly in pain at various points throughout. He had sustained a double stress fracture in his left tibia while preparing for the event. A week after the win, Woods' season is cut short following reconstructive surgery on that damaged ACL sustained the previous summer. 

Tiger Woods winces in pain during the 2008 US Open

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December 2008 and throughout 2009:

Woods tears his right Achilles tendon late in 2008. However, the problem resurfaces multiple times over the next year, with Woods playing through the issue.

May 2010:

While still holding the World No.1 spot, Woods withdraws from the Players Championship during the final round. An MRI scan later shows that he has an inflamed facet joint in his neck.

Tiger Woods after withdrawing from the 2010 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass

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April 2011:

Despite suffering a strain to his left Achilles tendon while taking a swing on the 17th hole at Augusta National, Woods goes on to finish for a tie for fourth at The Masters as Charl Schwartzel claims the title. 

May 2011:

The 35-year-old shoots a 42 on the front nine at TPC Sawgrass in the Players Championship and has to withdraw citing problems with his knee, Achilles and calf. Woods misses the next three months of the season.

March 2012:

The former World No.1 is plagued by more left Achilles problems, forcing him to withdraw from the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

June 2013:

Woods suffers an elbow strain, causing him to miss two tournaments, including the AT&T National. Woods explains: “I have been advised to take a few weeks off, rest and undergo treatment. I’ll be ready to go for the British Open, and I’m looking forward to playing at Muirfield." He finishes tied for sixth in the Major.

August 2013:

Woods tweaks his back while playing in The Barclays, and drops to his knees in pain. Despite his problems, he still battles to a runner-up finish after three birdies in the last three holes. 

Tiger Woods on his knees in pain at The Barclays in 2013

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March 2014:

There are more signs of back troubles for Woods and he is forced to withdraw from the Honda Classic. Later in the month, he misses the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but remains at World No.1.

April 2014:

Woods announces that he will miss the Masters after undergoing a microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve in his back. He returns to the Quicken Loans National but fails to make the cut. 

September 2015:

After finishing 17th in the Masters in 2015, Woods misses the cut in the remaining three, including the PGA Championship in September before undergoing a second microdiscectomy surgery that would see him miss the next 16 months.

October 2015:

Woods returns to the same neurosurgeon that performed his previous two back surgeries to undergo a follow-up operation in an attempt to relieve his discomfort.

February 2017:

After the 79-time PGA Tour winner skips the entire 2016 season to recover from surgery, he finishes 15th in an 18-man field at the Hero World Challenge before missing the cut at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open. He then withdraws from the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic, citing back spasms.

Tiger Woods leaves the Emirates Golf Club after withdrawing from the 2017 Dubai Desert Classic

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April 2017:

The 42-year-old has lower right back fusion surgery. He says on his website: "I'm optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain. 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 for so long."

January 2018:

A month after playing in his 18-man Hero World Challenge tournament, Woods makes his long-awaited return to full-field PGA Tour events at the Farmers Insurance Open. He ties for 23rd with a score of three-under.

March 2018:

A tie for second at the Valspar Championship and a tie for fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational takes Woods to joint favourite with bookmakers to win the Masters the following month. He looks completely clear of any previous injury but can only manage a tie for 32nd in the tournament

March 2019:

Woods pulls out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a neck strain that he reveals he has had for a couple of weeks. He says it isn't anything serious and just wants to stay fresh for the Players Championship.

April 2019:

Now injury free once again, Woods rolls back the years to win the Masters for the fifth time and become a 15-time Major winner - just three short of the all-time Major winner, Jack Nicklaus.

Tiger Woods after winning the 2019 Masters

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August 2019:

Woods pulls out of the Northern Trust with a “mild oblique strain that led to pain and stiffness.” This comes just a month after Woods missed the cut in The Open at Royal Portrush looking sluggish after playing just three tournaments since his Masters win.

December 2020:

Woods has further microdiscectomy surgery, this time to remove a bone fragment that is pinching a nerve during the PNC Championship.

February 2021:

Woods sustains compound fractures to his right leg and shatters an ankle following a car accident in Los Angeles. Woods is hospitalised in a serious but stable condition, and the world waits to learn if he will play again. 

Tiger Woods' car after his February 2021 accident

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December 2021:

Just 10 months after his career-threatening injury, Woods plays alongside son Charlie in the PNC Championship, albeit using a golf cart. The pair finish runner-up behind John Daly and his son

April 2022:

After days of feverish speculation, Woods makes a sensational comeback to competitive golf at the Masters. He finishes a creditable 47th, but is visibly limping by the end of the tournament. 

Tiger Woods acknowledges the crowd after the final round of the 2022 Masters

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May 2022:

Woods steps up his comeback with his second Major appearance of the year - the PGA Championship at Southern Hills. Once again, he makes the cut, but he is forced to withdraw after the third round due to ongoing issues with his weakened right leg.

July 2022:

After opting to miss the US Open in June, Woods makes his third appearance of the year in the final Major of 2022 - the 150th Open at St Andrews. However, Woods misses the cut.  

November 2022:

Woods is confirmed in the field for the Hero World Challenge, while later in the month, it is also announced he will play in exhibition tournament The Match in December and the PNC Championship the week after. Days before the Hero World Challenge begins, Woods announces he has developed plantar fasciitis in his right foot, forcing him to withdraw from the tournament. 

April 2023:

After an encouraging performance in February's Genesis Invitational, Woods plays at The Masters and equals the record of 23 consecutive cuts made at Augusta National. The third round brings more injury misery for Woods, though, as he is forced to withdraw after a flare-up of his plantar fasciitis. Two weeks later, it is revealed that Woods has undergone a subtalar fusion procedure to address post-traumatic arthritis in his right ankle, with no potential return date given.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.