Tiger Woods, confined to his bed following a post-op procedure to “relieve discomfort” from his recent back operation, appears to have taken a major step backward in his recovery process.
Woods, who underwent a second microdiscectomy in September, said on his website on Friday that he was “on bed rest” after “follow-up” surgery by Dr. Charles Rich. The neurosurgeon who performed both operations, the first of which was in March 2014, said via TigerWoods.com that his patient was “doing well, and we expect him to make a full recovery.”
What that recovery will look like and when it occurs is anybody’s guess, especially since Woods acknowledged “there is no timetable” for his return to the PGA Tour. At this point, observers have to believe that the odds of the former world No. 1, now ranked 351, making it back to competitive golf are extremely long.
“It’s one of those things that had to be done,” said Woods. “I have an outstanding team of doctors, and I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Woods was sidelined for more than three months after his first microdiscectomy. After two essentially lost seasons following his five-win 2013 campaign, he went under the knife again on September 16 to relieve a pinched nerve.
That procedure forced Woods to skip the tour’s 2015-2016 season-opening Frys.com Open and an exhibition in Mexico with Matt Kuchar. Tiger was on hand for a press conference and clinic ahead of the Bridgestone America’s Golf Cup but had to cancel a November 5 final design visit to Bluejack National, his course design outside Houston.
In announcing he would not compete with Kuchar, Woods said at the time that he had yet to begin rehab for the second operation and that he expected a “long, slow recovery.” Tiger, who will turn 40 on December 30, no doubt now faces an even longer, slower convalescence.
“My family and the fans’ concern and support have helped a lot,” he said on Friday. “I’ll be back, and I’ll be ready to compete.”
But not at his Hero World Challenge, which he still hopes to attend and host in early December in the Bahamas. It was at last year’s event that Woods debuted his short-game woes and finished last among those in the limited-field tourney that benefits his foundation.
Woods, whose most recent of his 79 tour wins came at the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, last competed in August at the Wyndham Championship. He finished tied for 10th and seemed to have regained some of his winning form after compiling an injury- and chipping yips-riddled record of six missed cuts and three withdrawals in 23 tour events since that last victory.
After this latest setback, Tiger fans have to wonder if they’ll ever witness the 14-time major winner in action again.