When the news broke last week that Tiger Woods had undergone yet another procedure on his back – that’s five now – it was a jolt.
He’s 45. His back is fused in one spot. On good days it’s tight and tender. On other days, it’s profoundly unpleasant.
Now we’re left to wonder – again – about what it means for the guy who has played the greatest golf ever.
This is another chunk of time spent starting over, or at least retracing his steps. He knows how the process works.
It’s unclear how long Woods will be sidelined by this latest procedure. In the announcement released by his TGR Foundation, no timetable for his return was mentioned. The statement did not specify when the procedure was performed.
However, Rory McIlroy said it occurred on Dec. 23 and, according to friends, Woods is already hitting golf balls again.
“I look forward to begin training and am focused on getting back out on tour,” Woods said in the foundation’s statement.
When Woods will play next is unclear. The Players Championship is six more weeks away and Masters week begins in 70 days.
Woods was expected to begin his 2021 season this week at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, an event he has won seven times and a South Course where he also won the U.S. Open in 2008. The U.S. Open returns to Torrey Pines in June.
He also was expected to play at the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in February, an event his foundation hosts. He will not play in either of those West Coast-swing events.
According to the statement, Woods developed discomfort after playing in the PNC Championship with his son, Charlie, in December. In the statement, doctors said the procedure was successful and that Woods should have a full recovery.
Before the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in September, Woods talked about the physical challenges he faces.
“Whether or not I feel physically good enough where I can put in the practice, that’s my unfortunate reality. ... Trying to be healthy enough so that I can practice and I’m able to spend the time that I want, that I need to,” Woods said.
“I have to train in order to practice, and I have to get my back loose enough to where I’m able to practice. That’s just the way it is.”
Ron Green Jr.