Column: Tiger Woods future fades faster with latest back surgery

The PGA Tour is back in Texas this week, and so, too, is Tiger Woods.

Only while most Tour pros in the state are competing at the Valero Texas Open, Woods, at 41, is planning yet another rehab after undergoing what he termed “successful” back surgery to alleviate pain in his back and leg.

This latest operation that Woods underwent typically prohibits its recipients from returning to full activity for roughly six months, according to Dr. Richard Guyer, who performed the surgery at the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute in Plano.

Which, translated, means sometime mid-autumn, best case, when another season will have passed Woods by.

Once we used our hands to count Tiger’s major victories, and now we use them to count his surgeries. He now owns as many back surgeries and procedures (four) as Masters’ green jackets.

Woods’ web site reported that the golfer’s surgery “went well,” but really, don’t they all? If his previous ones had been so good, then why the need for a fourth?

First and foremost, Woods is wished good health and the ability to return to a normal life. The most exciting and impactful player of a generation, maybe of all time, said that he wants to be healthy again so that he can get back to playing with his children, and so that he may return to professional competition “without the pain I have been battling so long.”

Tiger Woods now has has many back surgeries (4) as he does Masters green jackets. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

He has many years ahead to enjoy with his kids. As for the golf part of the equation? It continues to get murkier and more distant every time he gets wheeled into a new surgery. Woods hasn’t played a full season since 2013, when he won five times and was the PGA Tour player of the year, and his stop-and-go career ever since has not been very impressive. It has been filled with missed cuts and WDs and far more questions than answers.

In December, competing in his own Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, Woods appeared to be a man capable of building some momentum. All of his speed had not returned, but he was hitting drives past Ryder Cuppers Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler, and he was making birdies in windy conditions, tying for most made (24) in the entire field.

He teed it up in late January at Torrey Pines, a place he once owned, and where he won his last major title in 2008, and appeared tentative, holding back on the swing. He played two rounds and missed the cut, and outwardly appeared 10 years older than he had in the sunshine of the Bahamas. Across the globe in Dubai a week later, he again appeared as if he’d aged overnight, shuffling through the sand as a man who looked to be in considerable pain. He played one round, failed to record a birdie, struggled to 77, and withdrew.

And now this latest news flash. Tiger Woods, on the shelf once again. Unfortunately, it’s getting to be a pretty regular storyline.

Surely golf is better with Woods at the wheel,…

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