Tiger Woods is still on the road to recovery but has given a positive update on his fitness and health after his latest back operation.
The last time we saw the 14-time major champion, Tiger Woods, on a golf course was in February at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Woods had just shot his worst competitive score in 29 rounds at the Emirates Golf Club before withdrawing ahead of Friday’s play, due to back spasm he began suffering after dinner.
Eight months later and with a few knocks along the way Tiger is continuing to make steady progress.
Since undergoing back surgery in April, his fourth, there is no return date to competitive action for the former world return, but he has been cleared for short-game practice.
To add to the limited practice Woods also revealed, in a statement on Friday through his website, he had been tasting some action by hosting putting matches against Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas at his private practice facility in Jupiter Island, Florida.
“I’m starting to hit the ball a little further – 60-yard shots. I have not taken a full swing since my back fusion surgery last April, but continue to chip and putt every day.” He stated through an update on his website.
The latter is paying off. Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler have been dropping by my house for putting contests. Justin also comes over to practice his chipping. It was fun to celebrate his PGA Championship win with him and Rickie, and we had a blast.
Also back on the table is Wood’s return to a full workout schedule.
“I’m working out six days a week, alternating between the treadmill, bike riding, swimming and lifting twice a day. My muscle tone is coming back, but I’m not in golf shape yet. That’s going to take time.”
This is clear progress from the 79-time PGA Tour champion but as he reveals he is nowhere near tournament ready and it could still be a long time until we catch a glimpse of those club twirls.
Woods stresses that he is ‘fired up’ to be part of Steve Stricker’s set-up, as a Team USA assistant, for the forthcoming President’s Cup.
“It will be great to be around the guys and try to help our team any way I can to win. I had a blast doing it last year at the Ryder Cup and we have another great captain in Steve Stricker. We tried to keep the band together with Jim Furyk, Davis Love III and myself, and added Fred Couples, to maintain consistency and unity.”
My biggest responsibility is to do whatever the captain asks me to do.
The 41-year-old will take medical advice and is focusing on an upcoming X-ray on his back to review his progress six months after surgery.
“Once my surgeon takes a look, he’ll give me the parameters of what I can do moving forward.”
Playing wise, I’m not looking ahead yet because I don’t know what kind of swing I’m going to use. I just don’t know what my body is going to allow me to do. Until I do, I’m going to listen to my doctors and continue to take it slowly.
In a very excited and reserved tone, this news will tide over Tiger fans and the golfing world, who will see a glimpse of a healthy GOAT next week at Liberty National.