On Thursday, Tiger Woods announced on his website that he’s undergone a fourth back surgery to “alleviate ongoing pain in his back and leg.” The announcement does not clarify exactly when he underwent surgery, but based on videos that surfaced of him swinging a golf club just days ago at Big Cedar Ridge, it’s likely the surgery happened quite recently.
“The surgery went well, and I’m optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain,” Woods said. “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.”
According to his website, the procedure was a “minimally invasive Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (MIS ALIF) at L5/S1,” to relieve pressure from the nerve.
“After he recovers from surgery, he will gradually begin his rehabilitation until he is completely healed,” said Dr. Richard Guyer of the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute. “Once that’s accomplished, his workouts will be geared to allowing him to return to competitive golf… If you are going to have single-level fusion, the bottom level is the best place for it to occur. Some individuals are born with one less vertebrae, which would be similar to someone who had a single-level fusion.”
Woods will undergo therapy and treatment after several weeks of rest, and patients are expected to return to full activity after six months. This timeframe means the 14-time major champion would not be active on the PGA Tour until late October, which is when the 2017-2018 season begins.
Most recently, we saw Tiger Woods compete in the 2016 Hero Challenge (T15), the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open (missed cut) and the Dubai Desert Classic, from which he withdrew after an opening-round 77 citing back spasms. He missed The 2017 Masters, and now, it appears he will miss the remainder of the 2016-2017 PGA Tour season.
“I would like to thank all the fans for staying in touch and their kind wishes,” Woods said. “The support I have received has never waned, and it really helps.”