April 10, 2015- By Steven E. Greer, MD
Ten years ago, Tiger Woods hit one of the most memorable shots in golf when he chipped in a birdie on the 16th hole at Augusta in the 2005 Masters to win the tournament. As the TV broadcast commemorated that shot this year, it also reminded us of how Tiger Woods’ physique used to be much thinner.
Since turning professional, Tiger Woods has gained at least 30-pounds of muscle, and most of that occurred in a rapid period of time starting in 2007. His body metamorphosis was explained as a new workout regimen. No one in mainstream televised golf dared question whether he was taking testosterone or human growth hormone, despite the characteristic large trapezium and deltoids.
By 2007, Tiger was so popular that he took over the game of golf from a financial standpoint. Television ratings and the billions of dollars related to them were all on the rise due to Tiger. The PGA actually set up special Tiger-Tents for him to speak during press conferences, away from the rest of the riffraff PGA players.
Tiger could always hit the ball a mile even when he was rail thin in college. Why did he bulk up? How did his extra 30-pounds of muscle help his game?
Whether coincidental or causational, his career ended shortly after his 2007 bodybuilding. His back and knees began to breakdown. His last major championship, the 2008 U.S. Open, was won as he hobbled around the course on a fractured leg and torn knee.
The pain from his injuries caused Tiger to start taking opioid pain pills and other drugs. Those led to his fateful Thanksgiving, 2009, slow-speed crash into a tree by his house as he was high on pills. His marital infidelities then came to light, further setting back his career.
Tiger Woods is no longer in the top 100 of golfers. Simply making the cut in a tournament is his goal. During the first round on the 2015 Masters, he was shanking balls 30-degrees off course.
Tiger is not just bad, he is pathetic. But he still looks marvelous.
Mr. Woods, ten years after the 2005 chip-in on 16, is 30 pounds bulkier with huge traps, delts, and biceps, and a 32-inch waist. He will turn 40 later this year.
Mr. Woods was forced to drop out of golf tournaments over the last 12-months due to back pain. How has he maintained the 32-inch waist and body of a world class athlete?
Meanwhile, at this year’s Masters, a 21-year-old upstart from Texas named Jordan Spieth is breaking low-scoring records at Augusta, surpassing even what Mr. Woods accomplished at the same age. He is 6’1″ and only 185-pounds, but looks thinner.
When Tiger won his first major by 12-strokes at the 1997 Masters, he was the same size as Jordan Spieth, or skinnier. He never played any better than that, except for his 15-stroke win at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Tiger Woods is an enigma. Why did he want to become an action hero and bulk up at age 32 when he was the top of his game? Did his new body cause the back and knee injuries, or the other way around? How can the best golfer ever seen turn into a duffer?
One thing is clear. Young wiry thin guys seem to be able to golf just fine without muscle mass.