Bad back, shaky game, and Tiger Woods will be 39 the next time he plays the Masters in April 2015 ... if he's healthy then, and there is absolutely no guarantee of that.
That's the larger-picture view that hit me immediately after Woods made the bombshell announcement on his website Tuesday that his recent back injury has required surgery and will force him to miss next week's Masters, and possibly many more tournaments after that.
CBS obviously has to be devastated by this; Tiger hasn't won the Masters in a long time, but he has been competitive, and nothing drives ratings like Tiger competing at Augusta National on the weekend.
But beyond the ratings and marketing, the Woods news is seismic not because it was wholly unexpected but because of what it signifies about a great player who is determined to win at Augusta over all other places ...
He is middle-aged now; maybe this surgery is exactly what he needs to get back to 100 percent by some point late this year, but isn't that what we've heard about all of his previous surgeries that forced him to miss time?
Woods is way past his athletic prime; he hasn't been winning majors when healthy, and he is missing them for injury reasons at an alarming rate.
Middle-aged. It happens to everybody, even Tiger.
This, by the way, will be the first time he'll miss a Masters since he first started playing the tournament in 1995 and again, that's why this is so significant.
Woods came rushing back from his troubles in late 2009/early 2010 just to play at Augusta ... and finished in a tie for fourth.
He loves playing the Masters. He's won four times and been in the top five seven other times, including a tie for fourth last year.
So having to miss this one, at age 38, is very, very big.
Again, from ages 32-38 (a golfer's usual prime), Woods' major victories: one.
His major DNPs: five and possibly increasing to seven or eight by the end of this year.
His missed cuts in majors: two.
That, folks, is not the profile of a guy ready to start winning multiple majors, forget about the four more he needs to tie Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major victories.
Again, Woods needed the surgery -- the way he was hobbling around the course in his last competitive rounds was not pretty to see, and generally his swing looked so creaky and mechanical that I thought he was copying me at San Jose Muni sometimes.
We'll see when and how he comes back, but whenever he does, he won't come back as a 28-year-old, he'll come back as a guy headed toward 40, with multiple health issues, who hasn't won a big one in a while.
How many majors did Nicklaus miss from ages 32 to 38? Zero.
Which was a great predictor that Nicklaus would remain amazingly healthy into his 40s (when so many other golfers start breaking down, particularly the ones who swing as hard as Nicklaus did and Woods does) ... and win majors into his 40s.
Again, Woods has already missed five major starts from ages 32 to 38.
Tiger Woods to miss Masters. PAGE 3