Tiger Woods has fourth back surgery and is likely out for most of 2017
Superstar golfer Tiger Woods announced on his website Thursday that he has undergone a fourth back surgery to alleviate pain, one that likely sidelines him at least until October.
“The surgery went well, and I’m optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain,” said Woods, who hasn’t played competitive golf since pulling out of the Dubai Desert Classic on February 3 with back spasms.
Typical recovery time after his latest procedure is about six months, the article on Woods’ website said. That timeline would mean missing the remainder of this PGA Tour season and the Presidents Cup matches.
Woods first had back surgery shortly before the 2014 Masters and had two more procedures after the 2015 PGA season, following which he was sidelined for more than a year.
“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 said on his website.
The announcement comes two days after Woods said his back was “progressing” as he briefly answered questions at a function in Missouri to announce a golf course being designed by his TGR Design.
The 14-time major champion hit two golf shots in front of an appreciative crowd -- the first finding the water.
Now, according to his website, Woods “will rest for several weeks, then begin therapy and treatment.
“While each procedure and case is unique, patients typically return to full activity in about six months.”
The procedure performed was a minimally invasive Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion, aimed at relieving pressure on the nerve that was leading to sciatica and severe back and leg pain.
“Conservative therapy, which included rehabilitation, medications, limiting activities and injections, failed as a permanent solution and Woods opted to have surgery,” the website said.
Injuries have helped stall the 41-year-old Woods’ pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles.
Woods missed the Masters this month for the third time in four years. His last major title came at the 2008 US Open, and the 2015 Masters marks the last time Woods even made the cut at a major.
Woods ended a 16-month layoff when he played the Hero World Challenge unofficial event in the Bahamas in December.
His first US PGA Tour event after 17 months was at Torrey Pines in January, where he missed the cut. He withdrew in Dubai after a first-round 77, and pulled out of the US PGA Tour event in Los Angeles in February and the Honda Classic and Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.
He even cancelled a planned press conference at the Los Angeles tournament, saying doctors had advised him to “limit all activities” as he tried to get his balky back on track.
Doctor Richard Guyer of the Centre for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute performed Woods’ surgery and said Woods’ rehabilitation would be gradual.
“After he recovers from surgery, he will gradually begin his rehabilitation until he is completely healed,” Guyer said. “Once that’s accomplished, his workouts will be geared to allowing him to return to competitive golf.