Tiger Woods undergoes fourth back surgery: 'We hope this eliminates the bad days'

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Associated Press

One day after saying his back was progressing, Tiger Woods had a fourth back surgery to alleviate pain and will go through another year without playing a major.

Tiger Woods was turning back the clock at the halfway stage at the Wyndham Championship

Source: Associated Press

The surgery was yesterday at the Texas Back Institute.

Woods was in Missouri on Wednesday to announce plans to design a public golf course at Big Cedar Lodge, and he even tried hitting a few shots to a par 3. The first one rattled around in the rocks, and the second shot was about 10 feet from the flag.

Asked about his health during the ceremony, Woods said he had good days and bad days. And then he flew to Dallas for fusion surgery to create space in his lower back.

The announcement on his website yesterday said typical recovery from a single-level fusion surgery is six months.

"The surgery went well, and I'm optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain," Woods said. "When healed, I look forward to getting back to a normal life, playing with my kids, competing in professional golf and living without the pain I have been battling so long."

The 41-year-old Woods first had back surgery — a microdiscectomy — a week before the 2014 Masters, and he tried to return in three months. He sat out three months at the end of 2014 to let his body fully heal.

But after a 2015 season in which he missed the cut in three majors, he had back surgery in September and another one in October.

He went 15 months without competition before returning in December at his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, where Woods made 24 birdies in 72 holes and swung freely.

But then he missed the cut at Torrey Pines in January, and he withdrew from the Dubai Desert Classic on February 3 after opening with a 77, citing back spasms.

And now he's gone through a fourth surgery.

"You see him in the Bahamas, and he looked pretty good," said Mark Steinberg, his agent at Excel Sports Management. "And then you see him in Dubai. It can happen any time. You heard him say two days ago, 'I have good days and bad days.' This surgery, we hope, eliminates the bad days."

The surgery was described as "anterior lumbar interbody fusion" at the L-5 and S-1 of his spine. It was performed by Richard Guyer of the institute's Center for Disc Replacement, and involved removing the damaged disc and lifting the collapsed disc space to normal levels.

"After he recovers from surgery, he will gradually begin his rehabilitation until he is completely healed," Guyer said on the website. "Once that's accomplished, his workouts will be geared to allowing him to return to competitive golf."

With so many injuries and inactivity, Woods now is No. 788 in the world ranking.

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