Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Another golf major tournament will get under way this week, and again the field will be missing one of the game’s biggest stars. Tiger Woods announced late last week that his back is still not healthy enough to allow him to compete in the U.S. Open.
“While I continue to work hard on getting healthy, I am not physically ready to play in this year’s U.S. Open,” Woods said in a statement on his website. “I am making progress, but I’m not yet ready for tournament competition.”
We’ve documented Woods’ troubles on the blog in the past. Not too long ago we wrote that Woods was going to miss The Masters tournament, and back in 2015 we penned a piece about how back discomfort had Tiger considering retirement.
Tiger’s Back Problems
Tiger’s back issues are the result of decades of stress on the course. He’s played for so many years and he torques his spine with such force that his body has started to finally break down. He underwent a microdiscectomy operation to correct a pinched nerve in his back. Oftentimes a microdiscectomy is performed to address a herniated disc, but Woods never confirmed that was the root of his nerve pain.
Unfortunately for Woods, the first procedure didn’t completely address the problem. 18 months later he underwent a second microdiscectomy to free a pinched nerve, and later he underwent a third spine operation to “relieve discomfort.”
The Most Difficult Part About Returning
The difficult part about returning to golf after a back injury is that your spine plays such a pivotal role in generating power and staying accurate, and shooting pain, numbness or general soreness can really make life difficult. Even “mis-hitting” the ball by a few millimeters can greatly affect the flight of the ball, and when you’re playing at the professional level, that can be the difference in making the cut or competing for the lead.
Even though Woods has really stressed his spine over the years, there’s no reason to think he can’t make enough of a recovery to return to the PGA Tour. His best years are certainly behind him, and the betting odds are against him ever winning another major, but he’s still very physically fit for his age, and he’ll have the luxury of working with some of the best physical therapists money can buy. If he stays committed to his rehab, doesn’t overwork his back while he’s recovering and takes his time, Woods should be able to battle back from this troublesome spine issue.