The more information that comes out about Tiger Woods’ comeback, the more remarkable the story gets.
Tiger Woods: ‘I couldn’t walk’
Woods confirmed Faldo’s story on Wednesday with reporters at the Northern Trust Pro-Am and opened up about the pain he suffered that led him to undergo a spinal fusion procedure that forbade him from swinging a golf club for six months.
“At that time, I was done,” Woods told reporters about his mindset at the Masters champions dinner 2017. “I didn’t know what I was going to be doing. I had no golf in my future at that time. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t sit.”
Woods looked to Jack Nicklaus for guidance
From that desperate moment, Woods said he sought the advice of Jack Nicklaus, who steered him to physical therapist Pete Egoscue. But Woods opted for surgery instead. He had the spinal fusion procedure performed at the Texas Back Institute on April 19, 2017. It was the fourth back surgery Woods had undergone since 2014.
“I wasn’t confident,” Woods said. “I was having a fusion. At the time, I needed to try and get rid of the pain. It wasn’t so much about golf. I tried everything. I tried stem cell. I tried Lidocaine. I tried Marcaine, nerve block. Nothing took the pain away.”
Pain led to low lows for Tiger Woods
The pain he suffered and the multitude of treatments he sought explains in part some of the lows Woods experienced in 2017. He was arrested in May of that year for DUI and explained in an apology that it wasn’t alcohol, but a cocktail of prescription medications in his system.
“I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved,” Woods said at the time. “What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.”
That was just 16 months ago. The golf world that hadn’t seen him win a major since 2008 and had just watched his latest comeback attempt force him to pull out of the Masters in pain had written him off. That mug shot was the nail in the coffin of his golf career.
He had written himself off. There was no way an already fading golf in his 40s who had undergone four back surgeries, been through a public divorce and posted that mugshot from a DUI was going to be relevant on the golf course again.
Spinal surgery leads to new life for Tiger
But here we are on the verge of the FedEx Cup playoffs, and it’s Tiger’s world again. Woods is fresh off a sixth-place finish at The Open Champsionship, a second-place finish at The PGA Championship and is ranked 20th in the FedEx Cup standings with the first leg of the playoffs starting Thursday at the Northern Trust.
And he just confirmed a winner-take-all, $9 million pay-per-view match against his longtime frenemy Phil Mickelson.
Woods was at the top of the world before faltering and failing spectacularly. Now he’s back in the mix, and the fans that watched and often cheered his fall are back on board, watching a man who has gone through struggles they can relate to.
“Everyone knows that I’ve struggled,” Wood said. “I’ve had some back pain. I’ve gone through four surgeries. … It’s been tough, and people understand that.
“I think that people are more appreciative of it.”
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