Latest surgery eases pain Woods felt in his back, leg
Golfer’s recovery from back procedure likely to take six months
Tiger Woods won’t be back for some time.
Woods, who has made three starts in two years, likely won’t play again this season after he had his fourth back surgery Wednesday in Texas. The latest procedure alleviated pain in his back and leg, Woods said on his website Thursday.
“The surgery went well, and I’m optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain,” Woods said in a statement. “When healed, I look forward to getting back to a normal life, playing with my kids, competing in professional golf and living without the pain I have been battling so long.”
Woods, who also has had four surgeries on his left knee, first had surgery on his back in March 2014 and then had two procedures in the fall of 2015.
According to his statement, a disk in Woods’ lower back severely narrowed because of the three surgeries, causing sciatica and severe back and leg pain. During the recent surgery, the damaged disk was removed and the collapsed disk space was elevated to normal levels. The goal is to relieve the pressure on the nerve, the statement said. The operation was performed by Richard Guyer of the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute.
Woods, 41, last played in the Dubai Desert Classic in February, where he shot a birdie-free 77 in the first round before withdrawing. His only other start was in the Farmers Insurance Open the week prior, where he missed the cut.
His only appearance on the golf course in 2016 came at the Hero World Challenge in December. While he finished 15th in the 17-man field, he tied for the tournament lead in birdies (24) and looked healthy and upbeat.
He will be resting for several weeks before beginning therapy. The recovery period is typically about six months. That would mean Woods, a winner of 14 major championships and 79 PGA Tour titles, won’t play in any of the four majors for a second consecutive year. He is currently ranked No. 788 in the world.
Woods was in good spirits after the surgery, said his agent, Mark Steinberg.
“At this point, he feels somewhat that a large weight has been lifted off his shoulders,” Steinberg told USA TODAY Sports. “The three previous surgeries were somewhat temporary fixes. But it got to the point where the pain was more prevalent, and this latest surgery was something he had to do.”
Steinberg said Woods decided to take a more conservative approach with his back problems in the past three years. That option wasn’t available this time.
“This is not a temporary fix,” Steinberg said. “He was advised by his doctors that this was the best path to a healthy, active lifestyle. He was playing with his kids, but he was in so much pain.
“Now he’ll have a healthy life without pain.”
One, Steinberg said, that will include playing golf.
“Absolutely,” Steinberg said. “He wants to get out (on the PGA Tour) again.”
Woods’ last public appearance before the surgery was Tuesday in Hollister, Mo., where he announced he was designing his first public golf course.
The course will be called Payne’s Valley in honor of Missouri native Payne Stewart. Woods is a partner on the project with Bass Pro Shops founder and CEO Johnny Morris.
Tiger Woods is expected to miss all four majors for a second consecutive year.