Tiger Woods is getting back into the swing of things after finally overcoming his back pain

By Maria Pasquini
March 23, 2018 11:31 AM
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Tiger Woods is getting back into the swing of things after finally overcoming his back pain.

Before undergoing his fourth back surgery — an interior lumbar interbody fusion — in April 2017, Woods suffered from back pain so intense that he needed help getting out of bed for months.

“For the better part of four to six months, I had to be helped out of bed every day. And there were some days where you’d help me and I couldn’t stand up. I’d have to either just fall to the floor or just stay in bed,” Woods, 42, explained during an interview with ESPN’s Marty Smith.

But that’s all behind him now.

I have no more pain in my lower back. That’s gone. Once they fused it, took out the disk, it’s fused,” he said.

And his recovery is reflected in his golf game. Last week, he finished tied for fifth and 10-under par at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The week before that he finished tied for second and nine-under par at the Valspar Championship, according to Sports Illustrated.

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“I’m able to play golf again with my buddies. I missed that so much. I used to bring my son out here and he’d play and I couldn’t cuz I could barely swing a golf club, I could barely ride in a golf cart,” Woods continued in his ESPN interview, adding that while he hasn’t quite figured out how to perform to the best of his abilities with the new range of motion in his back, he thinks he’s “pretty close to putting it together.”

“It’s like riding a bike. But it’s a new bike,” he remarked.

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Woods isn’t the only one who’s noticed how much he’s improved recently.

A golf insider who has regular interactions with Woods previously told PEOPLE that “Tiger looks and sounds better than he has in years.

“He’s more upbeat, talking about the future. He’s putting everything negative behind him: the scandal, the DUI, everything. He’s a new man,” the insider added.

Woods’ career first ran into problems in 2009, after the golf player got into a minor car crash outside his home in Windermere, Florida. That little accident, which happened days after tabloids accused him of cheating on then-wife Elin Nordegren, was the catalyst for a shocking sex scandal as numerous women came forward alleging extramarital affairs with the pro-golfer.

After the scandal, Woods changed most of his team. He hired a new caddy and swing coach. He also had a series of surgeries that limited his ability to play the sport.

“For a long time, there was a cloud over Tiger,” the insider also told PEOPLE. “He had his surgeries, his setbacks. He’s only human, and those things were like a weight on his shoulders. But today, he’s happier than he’s been in years.”

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A personal friend of Woods also previously told PEOPLE that the golfer finds joy in being a father to his two kids: daughter Sam, 10, and son Charlie, 9.

“They’ve been a constant in all of this,” the friend said. “Elin has never once used them against him. Not once. He can see them anytime he wants. He can talk to them every day, all day, if that’s what he wants to do. He spends a lot of time with them.”

Tiger Woods and Erica Herman
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He’s also enjoying spending time with girlfriend Erica Herman.

After some bumpy years, sources say that Woods is now in a healthy frame of mind.

“He’s gotten things together,” a second PGA source close to Woods told PEOPLE . “He’s living a great life.”