Tiger Woods tees off the 5th hole during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course.

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

TIger Woods Announces Fourth Back Surgery, Indefinite Return Date

Tiger Woods announced that he successfully underwent his fourth back surgery to alleviate pain and is out at least six months

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(TigerWoods.comTiger Woods announced today that he has undergone successful back surgery to alleviate ongoing pain in his back and leg.
 
"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."   
 
Due to previous herniations and three surgeries, Woods' bottom lower-back disc severely narrowed, causing sciatica and severe back and leg pain. Conservative therapy, which included rehabilitation, medications, limiting activities and injections, failed as a permanent solution, and Woods opted to have surgery. The procedure was a minimally invasive Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (MIS ALIF) at L5/S1. The surgery entailed removing the damaged disc and re-elevating the collapsed disc space to normal levels. This allows the one vertebrae to heal to the other. The goal is to relieve the pressure on the nerve and to give the nerve the best chance of healing. "

 

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," Dr. Richard Guyer, who performed the surgery, added.

 

You have to say that this isn't exactly the best time to be a Tiger fan. Tiger hoops is (allegedly) getting turned down by Division II basketball players while Tiger Woods goes under the knife for his fourth back surgery since 2014, each of which he elected to have in order to alleviate pain. 

 

The most alarming quotation in my opinion begins with "If you're going to have (the surgery)", one that inherently begins as a negative.

 

In all, Woods has now undergone seven surgeries, three on his knee and four on his back. The timetable for return from the latest surgery is at least six months, meaning that Woods will miss the entire rest of the 2016-17 PGA Tour season, including the remaining three major championships.

 

The story of Woods, hopefully not yet finished, reads like a Dickens' novel. The first half is some of the highest of highs, an 11-year run that resulted in the most-dominating golf that has ever been seen, including golf played by Jack Nicklaus.

 

However, the story's second half took a remarkable turn on Thanksgiving of 2009 when Woods' sex scandal was revealed to the world. In addition to losing his marriage, Woods was vulnerable for the first time in his career. 

 

A player that once knew he was going to beat everyone, a player that everyone else knew was going to beat them, and a player that knew they knew he was going to beat them, found himself not only embarrassed but also dealing with the aftermath that exposed the ever-private Woods to the world.

 

Woods would not win again until 2012, a season that appeared to be the mark of a return to form. He won three times in 2012 and five times in 2013, including the Players Championship (the so-called fifth major) and the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, a tournament with the best players in the world. However, he has yet to win since that time and also has undergone four surgeries.

 

Woods gave golf fans some hope in December of last year when he returned to golf following another long layoff and showed moments of finding form. However, what hope, even the biggest of Tiger fans had, dissipated quickly following a missed cut at the Farmer's Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, a tournament that he has won seven times in his career, and that hope was all but gone when he struggled to a 77 at the Dubai Desert Classic before eventually dropping out of the tournament.

 

Since that withdrawal, Woods hasn't been seen much and hasn't played any golf, and upon the news of the day, the question has officially gone from "Will Tiger Woods ever win again?" to "Will Tiger Woods ever play again?".

 

Woods has stated that he doesn't view himself as a golfer but rather as an athlete and expects his career to mirror more of an NBA player who eventually retires because of injuries rather than riding off into the sunset in his 40s, biding his time before he turns 50 and can play the PGA Tour Champions. 

 

One has to wonder, "Is today the day that we've reach that aforementioned point?".

 

As a golf fan I hope not. Golf is undoubtedly better when Woods is in contention. It's more exciting, more entertaining, and most-importantly more viewed. 

 

One of my biggest regrets as a sports viewer is not appreciating Tiger Woods' brilliance and dominance. My younger brother quickly picked Woods as his guy, and since two brothers separated by only 22 months in age cannot have the same favorite player, I was left to always root for the lesser man, first David Duval and then Phil Mickelson, and consequently was always forced to root against Woods every step of the way, finding any reason to do so too,

 

As a result, I never appreciated the most-dominating player that the sport has ever seen. I hope that Woods does indeed heal this time, and I have an opportunity to see that brilliance once more, even if for just one week and rectify that wrong.

 

Get well soon, Tiger, and this time, I actually mean that.