Tiger Woods had an unexpected second back surgery in September after learning that a slipped disk in his back had pinched a nerve, and on Tuesday he said that he plans for the recovery to be “long and tedious.”
From the AP:
“Rehab will be soon, and it will be tedious and long,” Woods said at the Bridgestone America’s Golf Cup, an exhibition he was supposed to play with Matt Kuchar until the second surgery. “The last one, it took me awhile to get back. Some players on tour have done the same procedure and to be back pain-free it took them over a year.”
This is Woods’ second back surgery; his first came in 2014 and the recovery took only three months. Since returning to action, Woods has struggled mightily on the course. His best finish in nearly two years came this past August at the Wyndham Championship, where he finished tied for 10th. He hasn’t won since 2013, and is currently ranked 339 in the world.
But the latest news of Woods’ long and tedious recovery isn’t all bad for the 14-time Major champion. Because unlike in the past, where surgeries have caused him to change his swing while also recovering physically, Woods’ said that he doesn’t plan on changing his swing because the recovery will have been more comprehensive.
“This year I tried to play after the back surgery and it wasn’t fun because all of the pain. Also after my last surgery, I was changing my swing and to be able to do that successfully you have to practice a lot, and I could not practice because I was doing the rehab,” Woods said.
“It was a very complicated situation because of that.”
In July, Woods explained that simultaneously rehabbing his back while also changing his swing caused a “perfect storm” that derailed his game.
“Don’t forget, I came off back surgery,” Woods told the media before the Quicken Loans National in July. “I changed my golf swing and did a polar 180 and recovering from back surgery. You add those two together, it’s the perfect storm and I have had to fight through both of those at the same time.”
Woods turns 40 in December, but says he doesn’t feel that he’s that far off his form from 2013 – a year in which he won five tournaments and earned PGA Tour Player of the Year laurels. He’s also still got his eyes on Jack Nicklaus’ mark of 18 majors.
“It’s important for me to have more than 18 majors when all is said and done,” Woods said. “It took Jack his whole career to achieve it and mine is not done yet. I believe that I have a very good record for 20 years on the tour. The main thing is to get fit and to reach my 40s with good health to be as successful as Vijay [Singh], who won most of his tournaments at that age.”
If Woods wants to have any shot at doing that, he’ll have to get both his health and swing back on track. Luckily, this time in order to improve his back, he’s not going to have to fix his swing, too.