Tiger Woods still isn’t sure when he’ll make his return to golf. And he’s not too concerned about it.
“My recovery from microdiscectomy surgery for a pinched nerve in my back is coming along, but it’s a very slow process,” Woods said. “I’m still sore. Not from the procedure itself but the incision. I just need to get back to my day-to-day activities, and that’s it.”
Woods said his doctors advised him there’s no arthritic damage as a result of the injury and resulting procedure, with the 14-time major winner crediting his strong ab and glute muscle groups for preventing long-term issues.
While Woods is confident in the long-range prognosis when he returns to competitive golf, he is yet to pinpoint a return date.
“I’m doing everything I can and listening to my doctors and working on a strength program, and then we just have to see how my back is,” Woods said. “Some people heal up in three months, some people take four months, some people take longer. I just don’t know.”
The current world No. 1 has been out of action since March and the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship, including missing the Masters for the first time since 1994. Apparently, it wasn’t as gut-wrenching as one might imagine it’d be for a four-time champion.
“Not being able to play in the Masters for the first time wasn’t as hard for me as you might think. I’ve missed major championships before, so this was not a new experience. It helps when I’m physically unable to play the game. That’s when it’s easy for me, and I don’t have a problem watching. It’s when I’m playing and closer to getting back out there is when I start getting real antsy about watching events.”
It’s hard to imagine Woods is not at least somewhat antsy now on the shelf over 45 days. Woods hasn’t taken a full swing since the surgery.
“I haven’t used a sand wedge yet,” he said. “I’ve just done putting and chip-and-runs using the same length of motion. I haven’t really rotated yet. As far as taking a full swing, I have conference calls with my doctors every couple of weeks to see how my progress is and just kind of chart it out from there.”
Back problems tend to lead to more back problems. Realizing this, Woods is uncertain if this problem will force him to change aspects of his golf swing.
“Once I begin swinging a club again, I’m not sure if I will have to make any changes to protect my back; that’s up to Sean Foley and me on what we do. As far as limitations, it’s a building process, just like when I came back from my knee and Achilles injuries. You start from the green and work your way back: putting, chipping, pitching, wedging, mid-irons, long irons, woods and eventually playing. That’s all a process and takes time.
“We have to make sure my back heals fine and I have the strength and mobility going forward.”