Tiger Woods has fifth back surgery, but still hit balls today to get 'a feel for the game'
Tiger Woods has undergone his fifth back surgery and will miss at least two tournaments, with the rest of his schedule being an unknown. (...)
Tiger Woods has undergone his fifth back surgery and will miss at least two tournaments, with the rest of his schedule being an unknown.
But he is hitting golf balls.
On Tuesday afternoon the 15-time major champion’s Twitter account shared a statement that said, “Tiger has recently undergone a microdiscectomy procedure to remove a pressurized disc fragment that was pinching his nerve after experiencing discomfort following the PNC Championship. His doctors and their team have determined it to be successful and expect him to make a full recovery.”
“I look forward to begin training and am focused on getting back on Tour,” Woods said on the post, which also stated he will not compete at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines (Jan. 28-31) or his Genesis Invitational at Riviera (Feb. 18-21) this year. Woods still plans to serve as tournament host of The Genesis Invitational.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) January 19, 2021
Woods, who also has had four surgeries on his left knee, first had microdiscectomy surgery on his back in March 2014, then had two similar procedures in the fall of 2015. In April of 2017, he had an anterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery.
Golf Channel analyst Notah Begay, a longtime friend of Woods’ and a former teammate at Stanford, said Woods is doing fine and is even hitting golf balls.
“I just exchanged texts with him a little while ago and he’s doing great,” Begay said in a phone call. “He was out on the course hitting golf balls. He wasn’t ripping drivers. He was just getting a feel for the game after the surgery and seeing just how everything is.”
Begay said Woods noticed last year that his swing speed had dropped to under 115 mph, a velocity that Begay said Woods hadn’t seen in years.
“It was like the first time in 30 years that he swung that slow,” Begay said. “And that was due to a lot of factors. Old age was one of them. But having nerve pain in your body is going to prevent you into putting everything you can into the swing.
“This surgery relieved a lot of discomfort.”
The 45-year-old Woods has been sidelined before because of his troublesome back. He only played in one event in 2016 and three official events in 2017.
In 2018, his remarkable comeback from fusion surgery led to his first victory – the 2018 Tour Championship – since 2013. He also finished in a tie for sixth in the British Open and was runner-up to Brooks Koepka in the PGA Championship.
The following year, he won his fifth green jacket in the Masters. In the fall of 2019, he tied Sam Snead for the most victories – 82 – in PGA Tour history with his win in the Zozo Championship in Japan.
Woods played in just nine official events in 2020 and had one top-10 – a tie for ninth in the Farmers Insurance Open, his first event of the year. In December, Woods teamed with his son, Charlie, to finish seventh in the PNC Championship.
“It stinks,” 2007 Masters and 2015 British Open winner Zach Johnson said in a phone call from the American Express event in La Quinta, Calif. “We want him out here every week, but the man has to take care of himself.
“If this allows him to come back and play for a longer period of time, that would be fantastic.”