Sports

Lame Tiger Might Be A Long Way From Return To Competitive Golf

World No. 1 Appears Frustrated By Slow Recovery; U.S. Open, British Likely Pipe Dreams
Tiger Woods (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The U.S. Open? The British Open? It’s looking more and more like Tiger Woods will be watching both on television.

Recovering from March 31 microdiscectomy surgery on his back, Woods’ only realistic option to compete in a major this year may be the PGA Championship in August.

According to a rather somber blog entry on his website, Woods, the current No. 1 player in the world, characterized his recovery as a “slow process” and said he really doesn’t know when he’ll be able to resume his PGA Tour schedule.

“I’m doing everything I can and listening to my doctors and working on a strength program, and then we just have to see how my back is,’’ Woods wrote. “Some people heal up in three months, some people take longer. I just don’t know. I made the decision to have surgery because physically I just couldn’t make a golf swing.’’

Woods, now 38, said he’s done some chipping, but hasn’t come close to anything resembling a full swing yet, something CBS 2’s Dr. Max Gomez warned about some weeks back.

“As far as taking a full swing, I have conference calls with my doctors every couple of weeks to see how my progress is and just kind of chart it out from there,’’ he wrote. “Basically, you just follow a program. It’s tedious because it’s little rehab stuff, but you still have to do it. That’s where I think the experiences of having gone through the surgeries in the past have really helped because you have to lay the foundation down first before you can do the more arduous activities and then return to form. I’m walking and able to cycle now and started swimming last week.”

Woods has competed in just three tournaments this season. He was forced to withdraw from the Honda Classic back in March despite shooting 69-65 in the second and third rounds, respectively. The back problems continued the next week when he finished tied for 25th at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Last year, Woods had his best season since 2009, winning five events and finishing first in the FedEx standings for the fifth time in seven years.

But his back started to become a problem last August at the Barclays Championship in New Jersey and got progressively worse this season, forcing him to not defend his championship at Bay Hill and then skip the Masters entirely.

“Once I begin swinging a club again, I’m not sure if I will have to make any changes to protect my back,” Woods wrote. “That’s up to [coach] Sean Foley and me on what we do. As far as limitations, it’s a building process, just like when I came back from my knee and Achilles injuries. You start from the green and work your way back: putting, chipping, pitching, wedging, mid-irons, long irons, woods and eventually playing. That’s all a process and takes time. We have to make sure my back heals fine and I have the strength and mobility going forward.”

Woods has 14 major championships, but has not won one since the 2008 U.S. Open.

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