Tiger Woods has undergone a fourth back surgery to “alleviate ongoing pain in his back and leg,” he announced on his website Thursday.
Woods said the surgery, termed a “minimally invasive Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion” at the L5/S1 site, was his choice after attempts at relieving pain through rehabilitation, medication and other therapies proved ineffective at halting the back spasms and nerve pain he has been experiencing.
While it’s unclear – and too early in the process – to know what this surgery will mean for Woods’ future schedule, his website did indicate “patients typically return to full activity in about six months.” That would make it unlikely Woods will compete in the U.S. Open in June, if any other event on the remaining 2016-17 PGA Tour schedule.
“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.”
The 14-time major winner indicated his three previous back surgeries dating back to March 2014, including two microdiscectomy procedures, left the now-removed disc severely narrowed, causing sciatica and severe back and leg pain. Woods pulled out of the Dubai Desert Classic after a first-round 77 on Feb. 2, citing lower back spasms. Woods then pulled out of planned starts at the Genesis Open and The Honda Classic. He made a brief attempt to get ready to play in the Masters, but his efforts proved too painful.
On Tuesday, Woods hit a pair of golf shots at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missou., in a ceremony to announce a new 18-hole championship golf course called Payne’s Valley to be designed by his TGR Design firm and open in 2019. Woods hit his first 100-yard shot into a guarding water hazard before doing better with a second attempt.