Tiger Woods says Ernie Els should have "worked a little bit harder" on knee rehab–Tiger should apologize to Els

mulligan, 04 September 2009, 7 comments
Categories: Uncategorized

Tiger Woods, normally cautious with his words, may have just put his foot in his mouth. He reportedly was talking about how hard it is to come back from ACL surgery. In the course of doing so, he said this: “Ernie is not a big worker physically and that’s one of the things you have to do with an ACL injury. I feel pretty good with what I’ve done and I think Ernie could have worked a little bit harder.”

UPDATE: After discussions with some golf writers, we are adding some more context of the quote from the BBC report. It is true Tiger offers some praise to Ernie and extenuating circumstances, but we don’t think they excuse his comment that Ernie “could have worked a little harder.”

Tiger: “I feel pretty good with what I’ve done, and I think Ernie could have worked a little bit harder. Ernie is not a big worker physically, and that’s one of the things you have to do with an ACL repair. But Ernie travels all around the world, more than any other golfer. He plays all over the place, and it’s harder for him. He is starting to put it together a little bit. We all know he’s got the talent, we’ve seen it. It’s just a matter of him getting the confidence in what he’s doing.”

By contrast, Dr. Woods gave Tom Brady, Patriots QB, glowing praise: “You have to understand that you’ve done the legwork, you’ve busted your butt all these months to get to this position, which I know Tom has. He’s worked extremely hard. He’s taken a few shots and, obviously, I think it’s good. He needs the experience.”

Our take
: Tiger Woods is totally, totally out of line. Unless he has first hand knowledge of Ernie Els’ rehab and was with him during physical therapy, it is totally inappropriate to speculate about someone else’s rehab. It would be like someone saying that a drug addict didn’t work hard enough during rehab, without even being there to see how hard the addict tried. Or a mother saying that another woman didn’t work hard enough during pregnancy without firsthand knowledge of what she did. (If you think these examples are outlandish, just remember Tom Cruise’s criticism of Brooke Shields‘ use of anti-depressants following pregnancy.) With two years of Stanford, suddenly Tiger Woods knows more than Ernie’s doctor? There are so many factors that may have affected Ernie’s rehab. So it is inappropriate for someone to speculate that rehab wasn’t effective because the patient didn’t try hard enough. It’s all just speculation. (How can we know whether someone is trying hard enough in rehab? It is worth mentioning Ernie pointed out yesterday his son’s autism and his decision to assume the role of public advocate for autism have required much of his time and focus.)

And, even beyond that, in the medical field, patients have a right of privacy. To speculate publicly about someone else’s rehab work ethic or injury is totally out of line. We remember when Retief Goosen speculated that Tiger Woods was faking his knee injury–only a day later to issue an apology! Tiger Woods owes Ernie an apology, ASAP.

Click here for the story and here and here

Related posts
1. Did the golf press fail in covering Tiger Woods comment?
2. The questions the golf press should have asked Tiger Woods


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