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Tiger Woods underwent a fourth back surgery

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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.”

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Steve Frishmuth

    Apr 25, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Had a L3,L4,L5,S1 fusion at walter reed back in September…
    Just back to swinging a club…..therapist explains that most rotation comes from hip rotation….and I should finish facing the target…..67 years old…..single digit hdcp……but that is far from tour golf…….I wish Tiger the best….if anyone can come back it’s Tiger….if that is what he wants…..don’t sell him short

  2. nathan Gatehouse

    Apr 24, 2017 at 6:42 am

    Rocco Mediate – Still can play….. Try and be golfer, or a navy seal, not both

  3. Sam

    Apr 22, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Why so many haters? Tiger, hope you recover well and come back to competitive golf. There hasn’t yet been anyone like you in golf.

  4. Fat Perez

    Apr 21, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    @ genius Jim, it’s spelled “prodigy.”

  5. Moonman

    Apr 21, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Too bad his back is not oKKKay.

  6. Ed B.

    Apr 21, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    FINISHED! #NowImDone

  7. Ed B.

    Apr 21, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks Doc….

  8. Golferguy

    Apr 21, 2017 at 9:40 am

    If he never hits another ball in competition, fine. Just so long as he can live without back pain.

  9. Adam

    Apr 21, 2017 at 8:06 am

    A radio personality with back issues talked to Tiger last year about this particular surgery. Apparently, this surgery was probably needed years ago to allow him to live pain free, but it will hurt his explosiveness. He was hoping that the other types of surgeries that he was getting would work so he could make a comeback and still have his speed on the course. This type of surgery will allow him to live with less pain, but further signifies the decline of his career.

    • Jim

      Apr 21, 2017 at 10:19 am

      His ridiculous squat move ate his back just as Butch – and everyone else who understood functional human anatomy told him it would…. unfortunately he’s become golf’s version of a chronically mismanaged and mislead brilliant Hollywood child progeny found in a dive motel with a hooker and a crack pipe….EXCEPT….he’s still got beacoup $$$

    • BD57

      Apr 22, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      We’ll see.

      Had L4/L5 fusion in 2001 because there was no alternative. Would not be able to play – or live a normal life – if I hadn’t.

      The notion that Tiger’s going to lose all kinds of flexibility or power because of this . . . . . I’d really like to hear from someone with appropriate credentials and experience on the subject, because in MY limited experience, I don’t see it.

      It’s not like he had 5 discs fused – it was one. Anyone have any idea how much “additional turn” he’s going to lose from having ONE disc fused?

      My guess would be …. nothing of consequence.

      The back is not exactly the most flexible thing in the world “rotationally” to begin with, and that’s what the fusion will limit.

      In terms of his backswing turn, and through the ball, it’s the combination of flexible in his hips and strength in his core which will have far more to say about how quickly he can make the club head move through the ball . . . . more than a fusion at L5/S1.

      IMO, this is the best news for Tiger since he started down the path of back surgeries. He’s been trying to snip & trim to relieve the nerve impingement, without success – what I suspect has been happening is the disc just kept deteriorating, so every time they thought they had it cleaned up, when Tiger went out and started working again, the work did a little more damage to the disc, and now the impingement was back, and here we go again ….

      Assuming the fusion surgery was done right, what’s finally happened is the mechanical cause of the problem has been “fixed” in a way which won’t allow it to recur – at least, not at L5/S1.

      The downside . . . . . because there’s less flexibility at L5/S1, there’ll be a bit more stress put on L5/L4 . . . . solving one problem can plant the seed for another.

      That’s something my surgeon told me about back in 2001 . . . . but here we are 16 years later, and – knock wood – so far, so good.

      I really hope this works for Tiger.

      Oh … as for “he’s done.”

      Yeah, so was Hogan after the bus wreck …. why don’t we just sit back & see what happens?

  10. Yoohoo

    Apr 21, 2017 at 3:23 am

    Or learn to hit a soft arm hook. Much more gentle on the body. Less effort needed.

  11. bob

    Apr 21, 2017 at 12:42 am

    as johnny miller said in 97-because of his swing, he will not have a long career. same can probably be said for many players today.

  12. KJ

    Apr 20, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    Needs to do nothing for a year. The spine, nerves, disc degeneration can take a long time to recover and heal…..and he will never be the same. Ever. Let it heal as best as you can and give it one more shot at a comeback.

    • Wedge Chunk

      Apr 21, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      He already took a year off and he only lasted 1 tournament. Hes done.

  13. Yoohoo

    Apr 20, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    How about a penile replacement while he’s at it

  14. King of Carlsbad

    Apr 20, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    TM getting incredibly ROI on TW investment.

  15. Scott

    Apr 20, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Yawn

  16. ooffa

    Apr 20, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    Wow, those steroids really messed him up. Sad.

  17. Dat

    Apr 20, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Before the haters arrive, I’d like to say that I hope this is the last one he will ever need. If he ever comes back, great for him, great for golf. If he never comes back, it will be a shame that a great golf career ended the way it did.

  18. Aaron

    Apr 20, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Anyone else get sick of hearing Notah Begay continually either be misinformed or lie about Tiger’s conditions?

    • Tod

      Apr 20, 2017 at 6:15 pm

      Totally agreed. This is one more time the proof that Begay has no idea about Tiger anymore. Everytime he release a news and it is wrong BUT it is the only time sbdy is listening to him. Sad.

    • hb

      Apr 20, 2017 at 6:17 pm

      agreed

    • Chuck

      Apr 20, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      I sure am. In fact, I am sick of hearing Tiger Woods continually either misinform us or lie about his conditions.

      I’m fully aware that in past generations (Bob Hope, Arnold Palmer) men were men and the press didn’t bother them. But I really don’t recall anybody performing the sort of deceptions that Tiger employs in everything from his surgeries, to his recoveries, to his tournament schedule, to everything else. In fact, I always had the impression that Tiger Woods could have been, and wanted to be, just another regular guy. But that Team Tiger turned him into something else.

    • David Labbe

      Apr 21, 2017 at 10:09 am

      I was thinking the same when I heard this latest news. I also don’t understand how he has a tv gig. I am not knocking Notah as a person, but I have a hard time listening to him talk and call golf.

  19. Bert

    Apr 20, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Hope he gets better, even designing golf courses could be challenge.

  20. cgasucks

    Apr 20, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    In other words he’s done for the year…as if that is a surprise.

    • Sham God

      Apr 20, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      He won’t touch a club for 6 months. I doubt he will be back to competitive golf before next Masters. My guess is 6 months of recovery and 6-12 months of golf rehab before he is ready to play in a tournament. If he stays healthy through that I’d say 2019 Masters is probably the target.

    • Tom

      Apr 20, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      I’ll go with just…..he’s done.

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Tour News

5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

Wednesday’s Galleries

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Spotted at Shinnecock: #RVLife, superb staff bags, stellar stampings

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We’re on the famed grounds of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the second major of the year. With the U.S. Open returned to such a visually and historically rich venue, it may be a bit tough to focus on equipment.

Nevertheless, we spotted some cool stuff, Tuesday, as the players move ever closer to the second major of th eyear.

Let’s get to the photos.

#RVLife propronent, Jason Day’s putter cover is incredible.

Michael Greller displays an essential caddie skill…

Face of Tiger’s wedge. Do these look like standard TaylorMade MG grooves to you?

Greatest side panel on a bag ever?

Who isn’t happy to see “Woods” on USGA tournament signage?

Shintaro Ban’s unique dot stamping is, well, money.

A look at the Bridgestone U.S. Open staff bag and headcovers.

Kenny Perry: Still gaming R7 irons.

Scott Gregory with some solid wedge stamping.

What is this lead taped and war torn beauty?

All our photos from Tuesday

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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