Tiger Woods is about ready to tee the golf ball up again in a professional golf tournament.
To say there is some excitement around the return of Tiger Woods to professional golf would be an understatement. Woods has fuelled the fire by posting weekly updates on his swing over the past few months and some reports have suggested he is hitting the ball a long way, perhaps even further than Dustin Johnson?!
Woods fronted the media ahead of this week’s World Hero Challenge in the Bahamas and admitted he is loving life right now and has missed just playing golf for fun. ESPN’s Bob Harig has a nice wrap where Woods also admitted his children have never really seen him play golf:
“The neatest thing for me is to be able to get out of bed and I can grab a club and not use it as a crutch,” he said. “Now I’m able to take a swing. That’s so exciting; you have no idea how exciting that is, and I’m just so thankful that I’ve had this procedure and gotten to this point.”
Woods lamented the fact that his children, Sam, 10, and Charlie, 8, have really not been able to see him play golf. “They think I’m the YouTube golfer,” he said. “They’ve never seen me in action.”
It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement but Martin Blake has written a great, sensible piece over at Golf Australia urging everyone to stay calm with the impending return of Tiger Woods to tournament golf.
Woods is 41 (and soon 42). In April this year, he had spinal fusion performed in a Texas medical centre, a major operation that involves removal of damaged disc and the fusion of two vertebrae, usually with screws, with the gap filled either by bone from another part of the person’s body, or with metal.
It leaves the joint immobile, but often relieves the pain. In this case, the surgery was performed between Woods’ L5 and S1 vertebrae, and so far, it has had good results. Whether it can stand up to the kind of constant torso rotation that any professional golfer will inflict upon his or her back remains to be seen.
He had previously endured three less invasive procedures that were less successful, leaving him with back spasms. This is Last Chance Saloon stuff, a procedure that is meant to improve his lifestyle for the rest of his time on this planet, but it is not a guarantee that he can return to the level of golf that we previously saw.
The full press conference if you’re up for it: