Tiger's back. Again.
Less than three months after microdiscectomy surgery to relieve nerve pressure in his back and legs, Tiger Woods has announced that he'll return to competitive golf next week at the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club.
"After a lot of therapy I have recovered well and will be supporting my foundation next week at the Quicken Loans National," Woods said on his Facebook page. "I've just started to hit full shots but it's time to take the next step. I will be a bit rusty but I want to play myself back into competitive shape. Excited for the challenge ahead."
A few points to note here:
-The Quicken Loans National is Woods' own tournament, benefitting his foundation. There's no more friendly Tour venue between now and Augusta 2015 for him to return. Woods won't be expected to compete for the lead; as long as he breaks 100, it'll be a victory for him. Plus, his return will give unprecedented publicity to the tournament.
-Woods has only just begun swinging away, which makes his decision to return this early a curious one. But he's clearly taking the leap-into-deep-water method of returning to competition, so a tip of the visor to him for that.
-Doctors consulted by Yahoo Sports last week noted that the minimum expected time for recovery from microdiscectomy surgery is three months, a period that's right about now. The concern for Woods is not a recurrence of the same nerve problem that warranted the surgery, but rather that his core and leg muscles may not be prepared to handle the load of a full-strength round of tournament golf.
-Woods has missed the first two majors of the year, but has not announced his plans for the Open Championship or the PGA Championship. While a weak performance at the Quicken Loans National could impact Woods' decision to play in the Open Championship, the fact that he's this far along in his recovery appears to bode well for him playing in at least one major this season.