Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: November 7, 2016
Tiger Woods has announced that he will return to competitive golf next month in a tournament that he hosts in the Bahamas.
Golf fans have been waiting to see when Tiger Woods may make a return to the course, as the 14-time major champion hasn’t played on the professional circuit since August of 2015. As we’ve documented on this blog in the past, Tiger’s spine has been the main reason why the golfer has been unable to play competitively over the last 15 months. Woods has undergone three separate procedures on his spine since March of 2014, including a revision of a failed microdiscectomy operation. However, Woods said his spine is no longer a problem, and the only reason he hasn’t made his return sooner is because he needed refine some of his golf skills that diminished while he was unable to play.
“I am excited to make my return at the Hero World Challenge at Albany and play in this terrific tournament,” Woods said in a press release.
Will Tiger’s Spine Cooperate?
Tiger says his spine and his body are healthy enough to return to competitive golf in the near future, but this isn’t the first time we’ve heard those words from Woods. Woods announced in October that he planned to play in the PGA’s opening tournament, but he withdrew from the event just three days after the announcement. Golf fans again hoped they’d catch a glimpse of Woods at the Turkish Airlines Open, which was played last week, but Woods also withdrew from that event as it approached. Considering his track record of pulling out of tournaments, we’re hopeful, but we’re not holding our breath, that Woods will follow through and compete in December.
If and when he does make his return, the biggest question will revolve around his competitiveness. Your spine is probably the most important bodily structure when it comes to a person’s golf swing. It helps align the hips, rotate the club during swing and ensure a smooth and straight follow through. If you’re dealing with spine pain, whether it’s constant or shooting pain at a point in your swing, it’s going to alter your swing. That may not make much of a difference for you or me, but for a professional who relies on accuracy and power to compete with the world’s best, it can make all the difference.
Off the Tee & in the Rough
When he does return, Woods’ back will likely hinder him in two specific places – off the tee and in the rough. The tee box presents an opportunity to swing hard and get the ball as far down the fairway as possible, and this full swing could present a problem to Tiger. When the ball is in the rough, players often swing harder to compensate for the obstructed lie, and the swing can jar the body if you strike the hard ground or heavy brush. If Tiger wants to remain competitive, he’ll protect his spine by playing safer shots into the fairways instead of challenging himself off the tee and potentially opening himself up to harder swings and unstable lies. I hope his spine holds up for him, because the sport is certainly more entertaining when he’s involved.