Tiger Woods’ ‘timetable’: Tiger Woods Return

Published: December 2, 2015

Tiger Woods’ ‘timetable’: Tiger Woods Return, For Tiger Woods and the present state of his health, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

That’s leaving a dark cloud hovering above his latest attempt to return to competitive golf following a third back surgery.

Approaching his 40th birthday on Dec. 30, Woods is resigned to facing his latest obstacle on a day-by-day basis with no future date on the calendar to circle for his comeback. It’s the only thing he can do, he said during a news conference Tuesday ahead of the Hero World Challenge, adding that there isn’t even a timetable for beginning his rehabilitation.

“There is no timetable for this (recovery), and that’s been the hardest mindset adjustment is that I don’t know. So where is the light at the end of the tunnel? I don’t know, so that’s been hard,” Woods said.

“I listen to my surgeon, I listen to my physios, and we just take it day by day. Hopefully the day by day adds up to something positive here soon.”

Woods walked gingerly to the podium at Albany Golf Club, where 18 of the best players in the world including No. 1 Jordan Spieth will begin play Thursday in a tournament that benefits his foundation.

Woods said he’s still sore and the extent of his exercise these days is light stretching and walking. He hasn’t hit a golf ball in two months, hasn’t played soccer with his two children in weeks. Simply bending over to play with his kids is a challenge.

While he was able to stare down projected return dates in the past following surgeries to his left knee and other ailments that knocked him away from the game, his troublesome back is another story.

He had microdiscectomy surgery on his back on March 31, 2014, for a pinched nerve and was limited to playing just seven events that year. He returned this year and played 11 events, the last a tie for 10th in the Wyndham Championship in August.

However, on Sept. 16, he had a second microdiscectomy surgery to his back to remove a small disk fragment that was pinching a nerve. Talking to reporters in Mexico in October, he said his recovery would be “long and tedious.” Eight days later, on Oct. 28, he had a third surgery to relieve discomfort.

“It’s different from any of the other the surgeries and procedures that I’ve had in the past, where, OK, you blow out your ACL, which I did, and I had ACL reconstruction, and, OK, you’re back in nine months,” said Woods, the former No. 1 for a record 623 weeks who hasn’t won since August 2013 and has fallen to No. 400. “For nerves, there are really no timetables, and therein lies the tricky part of it because you can come back earlier or you can come back later, it just depends on how the nerve heals and how it settles.

“…I am really good at playing video games, really good. I swear, that’s basically how I pass a lot of my time.”

He might have a lot of time to pass in the coming year. Woods was asked if he could envision not playing in the coming year.

“You know, I’ve been asked this quite a bit lately and the answer is I don’t know, only because I really don’t, I really don’t,” Woods said.

Looking subdued throughout the 40-minute news conference, Woods said he still has the work ethic and drive to return. But he sounded at peace with his career up to this point – 14 majors, second only to Jack Nicklaus’ 18, and 79 wins, second only to Sam Snead’s 82 – and that everything from here on in “will be gravy.”

“I’ve had a pretty good career for my 20s and 30s,” he said. “For my 20 years out here I think I’ve achieved a lot, and if that’s all it entails, then I’ve had a pretty good run. But I’m hoping that’s not it. I’m hoping that I can get back out here and compete against these guys. I really do miss it. I miss being out here with the boys and mixing it up with them and see who can win the event. That’s fun.

“But if that’s not the case anymore, then I’ll find other avenues, that being growing my foundation, golf course design or other projects I have going on right now that will certainly take up more of my time.”

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