Former golf champion Tiger Woods makes his return to the green
Ten months and a spinal fusion surgery later, Tiger Woods is making his return to the world of golfing. Woods, who has 106 professional wins, last played in the Dubai Desert Classic on February 2, 2017. Woods announced on April 20, 2017 that he would undergo his fourth back surgery since 2014 to alleviate back and leg pain, causing him to miss all golfing majors during 2017. The surgery was described on Woods’ website as, “removing the damaged [lower back] disc and re-elevating the collapsed disc space to normal levels.” As a result, the pressure on the back would be relieved and allow the nerves at the back to properly heal; the doctor who performed the surgery was Dr. Richard Guyer of the Center of Disk Replacement, at the Texas Back Institute.
After facing a DUI arrest following unexpected side effects of his pain medication, Woods reassured fans that he was finding professional help as well as stating on his website, “I haven’t felt this good in years. I could no longer live with the pain I had. We tried every possible non-surgical route and nothing worked. I had good days and bad days, but the pain was usually there, and I couldn’t do much. Even lying down hurt.”
Wood’s first competition to mark his return was at December’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, hosted by his charity, The Tiger Woods Foundation. He finished the tournament with rounds of 69-68-75-68, tieing for 9th overall, and beating half the field in the 18-man event at Albany. This included major players such as FedExCup champion Justin Thomas and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Following the match, Woods world ranking jumped from 1,199th to 668th in the world, the biggest change ever in his career.
After being asked about his performance by Golf Digest, Woods replied, “I had the adrenaline going and overall I’m very pleased…I was still good with my irons, I drove it pretty good all week, made some good putts. I showed some good signs, I hit some really good shots out there and (it’s) a bright future.”
In addition, fellow player and winner of the Hero World Challenge, Rickie Fowler, had much to say about Woods, stating at a PGA press conference following the competition, “If his back holds up and he keeps swinging the way he does, there’s no doubt that he can go out and win.”
Tiger Woods will return to his first full-field PGA TOUR event at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines on Jan. 26, 2018, the last place Woods played in an official PGA Tour event.