Tiger Woods has suffered a relapse in his back, and revealed on Tuesday that he had recently undergone a fifth surgery that will keep him from starting the year even after swinging the West Coast on the PGA Tour.
Woods will not play next week at the Farmers Insurance Open at the Torrey Pines, which he won seven times, most recently in 2013. He also won the 2008 US Open at the Torrey Pines, which is hosting the US Open again in June.
He will also miss the Genesis Invitational on February 18 and 21 in the Riviera, where he is serving as tournament host.
In a statement issued by his foundation TGR, Which Woods also tweetedHe did not say when he underwent micro-vacuuming although Rory McIlroy, speaking on Wednesday at a press conference ahead of the Abu Dhabi Championship, said it happened on December 23 and Woods “was back on his feet the next day.”
He was to remove a portion of a CD that was causing him nerve pain during a PNC tournament last month that he played with his 11-year-old son, Charlie.
Doctors said the operation was successful and they expected a full recovery, according to the statement.
“I’m looking forward to starting training and I’m focused on getting back on tour,” Woods said.
The last year Woods won the Torrey Pines was when back problems began to arise. He had undergone his first microdisectomy right before his masters in 2014, then underwent two more doses in September and October of 2015.
The fourth surgery in April 2017 was a major lower spine fusion. Woods’ comeback was a hit, which led to him winning the 2018 Tour Championship – his first in five years – and topping him with a Masters title in 2019, 15th and first Masters in 11 years.
When he won the Zozo Championship in Japan in the fall of 2019, Sam Snead’s career record tied it to 82, and the record seemed to be just a matter of time. But he hadn’t been in serious trouble for the past year and missed an entire month with a slight back problem before golf was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When he returned in July, he did not finish better than a 37th PGA Championship tie in seven tournaments he played. In six of those events where he cut, he finished 107 shots combined from the lead.
He turned 45 at the end of last year, and the number of surgeries has now increased to 10 – five on his left knee and five on his back.
Woods said after tying at 38th in his Masters defense that he had harder days than others.
“My body goes through moments where it doesn’t work as well as it did before,” he said in November. “No matter how hard you try, things don’t work the way they used to, and no matter how much pressure and demand this body is, sometimes it just doesn’t work. Yes, it’s more difficult than others to have an urge at times.
“Yes, because things just hurt and I have to deal with things that I never had to deal with before.”
He played the PNC Championship with his son and they finished seventh.
Woods plans to be in Riviera in his role as host of the tournament. The statement only said he would miss Torey Pines and Rivera. He was not expected with his schedule in the last years leading up to the Masters on April 8-11.
The World Golf Championship event recently held in Mexico moved to Florida and follows West Coast Swing. Then there’s Bay Hill, where Woods won eight times (all before his back surgery) but skipped the last two years, and the Players Championship. There are three more tournaments after that before the Masters.
McIlroy said Woods will not play “in the next two months” but will return in time for the Masters “if not sooner”.
“I don’t think we can read much of it,” said McIlroy. “I think they were just trying to clean a few small pieces.”
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