Tiger Woods was leading the final day of the British Open with 9 holes to play. He then shot a double bogey. He is contending in major championships.
Tiger has had an amazing recovery from back and other injuries. The most recent is a recovery from spinal fusion surgery. Tiger had two discectomies and a third operation to remedy his sciatica, which messed up his nerves on a daily basis leaving him slumped on his sofa for days at a time.
Throughout his golf career, Tiger has had a swing which put a lot of pressure on his back.
However, it is not just Tiger Woods who is coming back from injuries that would have ended past sports careers.
Peyton Manning football career lasted years after major neck surgeries. Peyton underwent is called a posterior cervical foraminotomy. This surgery is done through the back of the neck and can relieve the pressure of a compressed nerve. It can in many cases completely relieve the pain and weakness caused from a pinched nerve. Peyton underwent two more decompression surgeries to try to better relieve pressure from the recurrent disc herniations. Following the surgeries the pain improved dramatically but he continued to have significant weakness in his triceps. Peyton flew to Europe four times, trying various alternative therapies including the use of stem cells. There continued to be no improvement. Manning underwent a fourth surgery, which was a single-level anterior fusion. The operation was on September 9th, 2011. In this procedure, the surgeon removes the herniated disc and replaces it with bone (a bone graft) and places a metal plate, which is screwed in above and below the removed disc. This takes the pressure off the affected nerve, stabilizes the spinal column.
Manning played three more seasons and went to two more Superbowls. Manning won a final Superbowl and retired.
Tennis having dominant players staying at the top longer
Tennis has had the top three men players remain at the top for far longer than past dominant players. They have each needed surgery to stay in the game and at the top.
Djokovic had elbow surgery and has come back to win Wimbledon.
Nadal has had knee surgeries but come back to win French opens.
Improving Sports Medicine and training techniques will keep the best at the top longer
Improved sports medicine and training techniques are keeping the best in sport at the top longer. Further improvements will likely continue to lengthen the careers of dominant people in sports and enable them to come back from previously career ending injuries.