PLANO – Tiger Woods’ health situation took another turn for the worse on Thursday when the former PGA star underwent his fourth back surgery in the past 37 months. Woods is sidelined from golf indefinitely and the surgery will require at least a six-month recovery period. Woods underwent anterior lumbar inter-body fusion surgery to remove a damaged disc in his lower back and re-elevate collapsed disc space to its normal level.
Tiger Woods at recent tournament in Dubai
His three previous surgeries, along with a herniated disc, were causing Woods to suffer from sciatica and severe back and leg pain.
“The surgery went well, and I’m optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain,” Woods said in a statement released online. “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.”
Woods underwent the surgery at the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute in Plano, Texas.
Dr. Richard Guyer was optimistic after performing the surgery on Woods.
“After he recovers from surgery, he will gradually begin his rehabilitation until he is completely healed,” Guyer said. “Once that’s accomplished, his workouts will be geared to allowing him to return to competitive golf.
“If you are going to have single-level fusion, the bottom level is the best place for it to occur. Some individuals are born with one less vertebrae, which would be similar to someone who had a single-level fusion.”
Guyer said Woods will rest for several weeks before beginning physical therapy and treatment.
Woods, 41, attempted a comeback earlier this year after a 17-month absence and it didn’t go well.
He missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in late January. The following week, he withdrew after the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic due to back spasms.
Woods held out hope he could play in the Masters in early April but eventually announced he was unable to play.
The 14-time major champion originally underwent microdiscectomy surgery to remove a fragment that was causing a pinched nerve in the spring of 2014. He later underwent another microdiscectomy surgery in September 2015 and a follow-up procedure the following month.
Woods said Thursday that well-wishers have raised his spirits during the lengthy ordeal.
“I would like to thank all the fans for staying in touch and their kind wishes,” Woods said. “The support I have received has never waned, and it really helps.