Tiger Woods still unsure on return

Tiger Woods
USA Today Images
Tiger Woods said Monday his rehabilitation from back surgery is "tedious."
By Mark Aumann
PGA.com

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Monday, May 19, 2014 | 12:05 p.m.

Tiger Woods is still unsure of his return to competitive golf.

In an interview with the Golf Channel Monday morning, Tiger Woods said any timetable for his return to competitive golf remains unclear.

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Woods had back surgery on March 31, and has been undergoing rehabilitation since, a process Woods said is "tedious."

"It's not a lot of fun, I'll tell you that." Woods said while being interviewed on the Golf Channel's "Morning Drive" program. "It's a lot of tedious little exercises I have to do. At least I still get to chip and putt, which is nice, and that's progressing. I've got my feel for that, which is nice. But I still haven't hit any full shots. It's still a little bit too soon."

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Woods said he'd like to come back "today," but the decision on when he can return to the course is not up to him.

"It's not really in my hands," Woods said. "It's in [the hands of] my doctors and my trainers. I've got to get permission from them before I can come back -- and I still have to progress."

Woods has had a history of back problems, dating from 1998, when he strained his back prior to the Kemper Open. Things became worse in 2013, when he blamed a bad mattress for back spasms he suffered during the Barclays. But Woods seemed well on his way to returning to his championship form -- regaining the No. 1 ranking -- until the Honda Classic in February, when he withdrew after 13 holes, citing back spasms.

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He then struggled through a final-round 78 at the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral before withdrawing two weeks later from the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill with a pinched nerve.

That led to microdiscectomy surgery, which is a type of minimally invasive spine surgery to relieve pressure and pain caused by a herniated disc. Operating through a small incision in the lower back, surgeons remove small disc fragments that are pressing against spinal nerves. 

Recovery can take several weeks and doctors typically advise against bending and twisting the back until patients are completely healed.

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Woods missed the Masters in April for the first time in his career, ending a streak of 19 consecutive appearances.