News & Opinion

Back surgery sidelines Tiger Woods again

Tiger Woods at 2020 PGA Championship
Tiger Woods undergoes a 5th back surgery and will miss at least 2 months of competition.

Woods undergoes a microdiscectomy and will miss 2-plus months on the PGA Tour, leaving the Masters as a likely comeback goal

Tiger Woods underwent another back surgery, he disclosed Tuesday via his TGR Foundation, and will miss at least the next two months of the PGA Tour season.

Woods, 45, recently had a microdiscectomy to remove a disc fragment that was creating nerve pain. It was his fifth back surgery. “I look forward to begin training and am focused on getting back out on Tour,” said Woods, who is tied with the late Sam Snead for the most career victories on the PGA Tour, at 82.

Woods will miss next month’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where he has won eight times, including the 2008 U.S. Open, and the Genesis Invitational, which benefits his foundation. Woods intends to be at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., for the Genesis Invitational and fulfill his duties as tournament host. The Masters, where he is a five-time champion, is scheduled for April 8-11.

Woods played in only nine tournaments last year, with only one top-10 result, and has slipped to No. 44 in the world ranking. Perhaps his most rewarding appearance came in late December, when he teamed with his 11-year-old son, Charlie, at the PNC Championship. However, that scramble event was where Woods said he noticed back discomfort. After three microdiscectomy procedures in 2014-15, he underwent spinal-fusion surgery in April 2017. Since that more invasive procedure, Woods won the 2018 Tour Championship, 2019 Masters and the 2019 Zozo Championship, tying Snead for the all-time lead. Woods also served as a player-captain for the victorious U.S. Presidents Cup team.

Woods has gone 15 months without winning on the PGA Tour, and he knows that the window is closing to pass Snead.

“My body just has moments where it just doesn’t work like it used to,” Woods said in November during a T-38 result at the Masters, his most recent official start. “No matter how hard I try, things just don’t work the way they used to, and no matter how much I push and ask of this body, it just doesn’t work at times.”

Now, he seemingly will have to ask a bit more of it to contend again.

Sign up to receive the Morning Read newsletter, along with Where To Golf Next and The Equipment Insider.