Tiger Woods has undergone another back surgery, he announced Thursday on his website. It’s Woods’ fourth back surgery since early 2014, and it’ll apparently keep him out of action for most of, if not all of the 2017 season. Woods’ website says he’ll return to “full activity” in sixth months, long after this year’s major tournaments. It leaves open the possibility for a start at his own Hero World Challenge event in December, where he made his return last year.
"The surgery went well, and I'm optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain," he 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."
Here’s the explanation of the surgery:
Due to previous herniations and three surgeries, Woods' bottom lower-back disc severely narrowed, causing 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 procedure was a minimally invasive Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (MIS ALIF) at L5/S1. The surgery entailed removing the damaged disc and re-elevating the collapsed disc space to normal levels. This allows the one vertebrae to heal to the other. The goal is to relieve the pressure on the nerve and to give the nerve the best chance of healing.
For Woods, this is more tough news in a latter part of his career that’s been filled with it. He recently missed the Masters for the second year in a row, after attempting a comeback that included a few starts earlier this year.
Woods missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, in his first event back after missing most of the last two years. He then withdrew after 18 holes from February’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic, citing back spasms, and hasn’t been in tournament condition since.
This is how devastating the last three and a half years or so have been:
Since the start of 2014 ...— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) April 20, 2017
Tiger Woods top 25 finishes: 4
Tiger Woods back surgeries: 4
Woods still hasn’t won an event since 2013, and he’s now ranked No. 788 in the world. It’ll be a long time before he gets the chance to improve on that number.