Why Tiger Woods' most recent injury might not be a bad thing

Tiger's bad back might be a good thing. (USATSI)
Tiger's bad back might be a good thing. (USATSI)

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Let's talk about Tiger Woods' back injury.

First things first, Tiger pulling out of the Honda Classic because he was playing poorly is a nonstarter with me. The problem with that theory is logic.

Woods doesn't do anything that isn't planned out and he knows the backlash from him bailing on a tournament with five holes left is far worse than him shooting a 78 in the final round at PGA National.

Plus, what do we do with the fact that he had just made three straight pars on the back nine? If he was going to withdraw because of poor play he would have done it at the turn, after shooting 40 on the front nine.

So with that out of the way I think we can all operate under the presumption that he is, in fact, ailing in a semi-big to big way.

It's not the first time he's been injured, of course, rather the latest in a long string of ailments that are more common to an NFL defensive back than a professional golfer.

Achilles, knee(s), back, elbow, a tooth (!) -- Woods has seemingly dealt with it all in his 18 years as a pro.

Which brings us back to why this time it might be a good thing.

Before Woods' season began at Torrey Pines six weeks ago he lamented that he's not what he once was athletically.

"Looking back from the beginning of my career to now, I know that I don't have 20 years in my prime. I don't see being 58 and being in my prime. Most guys don't dunk from the foul line at age 58, so it's a little different."

And yet it feels like he has a foot in both worlds, doesn't it?

It feels like he's sort of still trying to be long-hitting Power Tiger from the early 2000s while simultaneously transitioning into the late-career Wily Tiger he needs to be to win majors. 

There has been much made of his training regiment, whatever it actually is. Geoff Shackelford detailed an exchange between folks who would know better than I that maybe it's time for Tiger to lose a little bit of that muscle and become more flexible. 

I don't know that putting down the barbells is the answer but I do know that there must be a catalyst for change that eventually pushes Woods fully into that sagely twilight of his career.

Why he doesn't use the knowledge he's accumulated over the course of his career instead of trying to match drives with the biggest bombers on tour is beyond me. 

He even said at the Honda Classic that the biggest difference between now and when he was young is the wealth of information he's accumulated.

"Now most of the courses I've seen 15 times or so sometimes, and it makes a big difference."

So maybe he really is in full transition to late-career Tiger but it sure seems sometimes like he's trying to live in both the past and the future.

You can't have both and maybe a gimpy back will help Tiger realize that. 

But knowing Tiger, it probably won't.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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