In a sense you’re right. No one gets Tommy John and gets better due to the surgery. If there is better performance post surgery, it is 100 percent due to the rehab and modified throwing mechanics needed to maintain and strengthen the arm. I had Tommy John and came back throwing harder. I was also in PT for 3+ hours a day for 12 months and changed my complete throwing motion.
Obviously every case is different, but in my athletic career I’ve seen some of the top surgeons who have been mentioned above. Not once did I ever receive a sales pitch on the surgery. Through my multiple surgeries it was pretty black and white. Top surgeons usually tell you how it is and let you decide.
In Tiger’s case he was the best player in the world when he was contemplating surgery. Resting and rehabilitating without surgery carriers more risk in most cases.
By not having surgery and sitting out of events, he still runs the risk to not heal and then be in a situation where he would still need the surgery. This wasted time would have led to even more downtime in his career.
With Tiger choosing to have surgeries he took the safer approach to getting back to winning tournaments and sponsorship money.