Tiger Woods Says He Hopes to Be Recovered from Back Surgery in Time to Play at 2021 Masters
Tiger Woods underwent his fifth back surgery in late December
Appearing as a host at Sunday's Genesis Invitational Open, Woods, 45, said that he is hoping to compete in the 85th edition of the annual tournament, which kicks off on April 8 in Augusta, Georgia.
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"God I hope so. I've got to get there first," the golf legend said. "A lot of it is based on my surgeons and doctors and therapist and making sure I do it correctly. This is the only back I've got, I don't have much more wiggle room left."
Woods, who underwent the surgery to remove a disc fragment pinching his nerve after experiencing discomfort following the December PNC Championship, said that he's "feeling fine" but "a little bit stiff" two months after his procedure.
"I have one more MRI scheduled so we'll see if the annulus is scarred over finally and see if I can start doing more activities," he explained in an interview. "But still in the gym, still doing the mundane stuff you have to do for rehab, the little things before you start gravitating to something a little more."
Woods also joked that he's "lengthened my putter" since his surgery. "I don't have to bend over as far. I've gone to the same length as my sand wedge," he explained.
"I do a lot of putting drills, blading, hitting the equator with my sand wedge, and I figure, well, if I do a lot with that, might as well lengthen my putter to the same length," added Woods. "So I did and it helped."
Woods underwent his first back surgery for a pinched nerve in 2014, missing the Masters for the first time in his professional career.
Woods withdrew from the Wyndham Championship in 2015 for a second microdiscectomy procedure. However, the pain persisted and he had to undergo a third back surgery shortly after.
In 2017, the athlete announced that he had undergone a fourth back surgery "to alleviate ongoing pain in his back and leg," his team said in a statement at the time.
"I don't think words can describe it. Just the fact that we were able to have this experience together, Charlie and I," Woods told reporters. "It's memories for a lifetime."
Despite the duo's valiant efforts, Justin and Mike Thomas ended up winning the event.