The sight of Tiger Woods' creaking body during the third round of the Masters might be the last we see of him for some time.
Woods somehow made the cut at Augusta but was then seen struggling at the weather-hit major and he was six over after seven holes before play came to a premature end. By the following morning he had withdrawn, stating: 'I am disappointed to have to WD this morning due to reaggravating my plantar fasciitis. Thank you to the fans and to @TheMasters who have shown me so much love and support. Good luck to the players today!'
This week we heard that Woods had undergone an operation on Wednesday in New York to help with an arthritis problem from a previous ankle fracture.
A statement on his social media channels read: 'Earlier today, Tiger underwent a subtalar fusion procedure to address his post-traumatic arthritis from his previous talus fracture. It was performed by Dr Martin O'Malley at HSS Sports Medicine Institute in New York. He has determined the surgery to be successful. Tiger is recovering and looks forward to beginning his rehabilitation."
If you were to Google what a subtalar fusion procedure is it's when they take the two bones forming the subtalar joint, the talus bone and calcaneus (heel) bone, and then fuse them together. The joint allows for side-to-side movement of the foot and ankle, so fusing it means a recovering patient would require getting accustomed to walking on uneven surfaces.
It's said that the patient’s foot must be non-weight-bearing for six weeks and in a boot or cast for 8-12 weeks.
The next time that we were expecting to see Woods is the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in the middle of May and that now looks like a very long shot. After that we have the US Open at LA Country Club on June 16 before The Open visits Royal Liverpool. Bizarrely, that win at Hoylake remains his most recent Open victory and was made famous for his strategy of hitting long irons off every tee bar one.
The chances of seeing Tiger this year, let alone the majors, now look very slim indeed.