Woods undergoes back surgery, out until 'early' 2016

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 18, 2015, 10:40 pm

Tiger Woods announced Friday that he underwent a second back surgery and will be out until early 2016.

In a surprising post on his website, Woods said that he had another microdiscectomy Wednesday in Utah to remove a small disk fragment that was pinching his nerve. Woods said that he experienced occasional discomfort in his back and hip over the past several weeks, including in his final start, at the Wyndham Championship.  

Woods will not play in any of his scheduled starts the rest of the year – the Frys.com Open, America’s Cup and Hero World Challenge. He committed to the season-opening Frys last week.

"He committed, thinking it was going to be a regular checkup," Woods' agent Mark Steinberg told ESPN.com. "Obviously, that area where he had the microdiscectomy had to be treated again. And it leads us to where we are now."

Woods will begin rehabilitation and soft-tissue treatment in the next week, with hopes of a return “early in 2016.” He turns 40 in December.  


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“This is certainly disappointing, but I’m a fighter,” he said. “I’ve been told I can make a full recovery, and I have no doubt that I will.”

And so ends another turbulent year for Woods, who hasn’t won an event since August 2013 or a major in more than seven years. 

Woods’ season began with a missed cut at the Phoenix Open, where he shot 82 in the second round and battled short-game yips. He withdrew from Torrey Pines a week later because of a back injury, and later announced that he was stepping away until his game was up to his standards.

Woods didn’t return to competition until the Masters, where his short game appeared sharp and he tied for 17th. He finished near the bottom of the leaderboard at both The Players and Memorial, where he shot a career-worst 85 in the third round.

Woods shot 16 over par and missed the cut at the U.S. Open, then was sent home early at St. Andrews, one of his favorite courses in the world and the site of two of his most memorable major victories.

He showed promise at the Quicken Loans, but suffered another setback during a missed cut at the PGA. At the Wyndham, in what turned out to be his final tournament of the year, Woods was two shots off the lead heading into the final round. He imploded on the 11th hole Sunday and ultimately tied for 10th, his best result of the season.

It was on the 11th hole that Woods appeared to grab his back for the first time. When asked after the round if his back was bothering him, he replied: “It’s not my back, no.”

What asked what hurt, he said, “Just my hip.” 

Woods failed to reach the FedEx Cup playoffs for the third time in five years. In 11 starts, he posted only one top-10 with four missed cuts (including three consecutive majors) and earned less than $500,000. 

Woods has fallen to No. 283 in the world ranking. He is projected to drop to about No. 400 by the end of the year.  

It is unclear when Woods will return to action. When he underwent a similar procedure in March 2014, he missed three months but later admitted that he rushed his comeback.   

When reached by GolfChannel.com, Steinberg said he had no further comment. 

“This is unfortunate, but these things happen,” Woods said. “I’ve been injured before and played again. It won’t be any different this time.” 

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x