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A fifth back surgery kept Tiger Woods out of the field at this week’s 2021 Genesis Invitational, but it didn’t keep him away from his hosting duties.
Woods, 45, made his PGA Tour debut at Riviera Country Club in 1992 as an amateur at just 16 years old and has served as the Los Angeles-area tournament’s host since 2017. During Sunday’s final round the 82-time winner on Tour appeared with Jim Nantz on the CBS broadcast to talk about his Tiger Woods Foundation entering its 25th year, what he’s been able to do while recovering from back surgery and what he’s seen this week from outside the ropes.
When asked about his back, Woods said he’s feeling fine but admitted to feeling a little stiff.
“Still in the gym, still doing the mundane stuff you have to do for rehab, the little things before you start gravitating to something more,” said Woods.
Event host Tiger Woods walks with Wesley Bryan during the delay of the third round of The Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club. (Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
In his time away from the game while recovering, Woods said he has lengthened his putter so he doesn’t have to bend over as far. In fact, it’s the same length as his sand wedge now, and for good reason.
“I do a lot of putting drills blading putts, hitting the equator with my sand wedge and I figured if I do a lot with that, I’ll lengthen my putter to the same length and it helped,” explained Woods.
At the end of the interview, Nantz asked the question that’s been swirling around in the minds of golf fans for the last month: Will Woods play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in seven weeks?
“God I hope so. I’ve got to get there first,” Woods said with a chuckle. “A lot of it is based on my surgeons and doctors and therapist and making sure I do it correctly. This is the only back I’ve got, I don’t have much more wiggle room left.”
Woods had surgery on Dec. 23, 2020, and made the following announcement via his Twitter account Jan. 19, 2021: “Tiger has recently undergone a microdiscectomy procedure to remove a pressurized disc fragment that was pinching his nerve after experiencing discomfort following the PNC Championship. His doctors and their team have determined it to be successful and expect him to make a full recovery.
“I look forward to begin training and am focused on getting back on Tour,” added Woods in the post.
The 15-time major champion played in just nine official events in 2020 and had one top-10 – a tie for ninth in the Farmers Insurance Open, his first event of the year. In December, Woods stole the show with his son, Charlie, at the PNC Championship.
Woods didn’t provide a timetable for his return to competition.