After Back Surgery, Tiger Woods Still Does Not Know Return Date

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U.S. Open - Fourth RoundOn his website Monday, Tiger Woods wrote that his recovery from back surgery on March 31 is a “slow process” and that he is uncertain when he will compete in another PGA Tour event.

“I made the decision to have surgery because physically I just couldn’t make a golf swing,” Woods wrote. “That pretty much sums it up.

“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. Some people heal up in three months, some people take longer. I just don’t know.

“I haven’t used a sand wedge yet. I’ve just done putting and chip-and-runs using the same length of motion. I haven’t really rotated yet. 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. 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.”

Back pain at the Honda Classic in March forced Woods to withdraw during the final round. He rehabbed the back and tried to play the following week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and shot a final-round 78 to finish 25th. Two  weeks later, he pulled out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational and then withdrew from the Masters.

“I’ve missed major championships before, so this was not a new experience,” he wrote. “It helps when I’m physically unable to play the game. That’s when it’s easy for me, and I don’t have a problem watching. It’s when I’m playing and closer to getting back out there is when I start getting real antsy about watching events: ‘Can I play, can I not play?’ But when I’m physically unable to play, like in 2008 after my knee surgery, it makes things so much easier.

“Once I begin swinging a club again, I’m not sure if I will have to make any changes to protect my back,” Woods said. “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.”

One the personal front, Woods said he had the same procedure as the Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Romo and has spoken to the quarterback. He also said he has been rehabbing with girlfriend Lindsey Vonn, the Olympic skier who is recovering from knee surgery. Woods added that he has spent quality time with his children, Samantha and Charlie.

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