Woods progresses to chipping contests with Fowler, Thomas

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Late last month, Tiger Woods revealed on social media he’d started chipping again following his fourth back surgery in April, and on Friday he announced via a blog post on his website that he continues to make progress.

“I’m starting to hit the ball a little further – 60-yard shots,” he wrote. “I have not taken a full swing since my back fusion surgery last April, but continue to chip and putt every day.”

Woods explained that he’s had chipping and putting contests with Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, who are South Florida neighbors, but that he’s “not looking ahead” to playing any time soon.

There had been some speculation that he could be ready to return to competition in November at the Hero World Challenge, a limited-field event which is run by Woods’ foundation, but that doesn’t seem likely given his most recent update.

“I have my six-month back X-rays coming up,” wrote Woods, who added that he’s working out six days a week. “Once my surgeon takes a look, he’ll give me the parameters of what I can do moving forward.”

Woods underwent his fourth back surgery after he withdrew from the Dubai Desert Classic in February, his last competitive start. A week earlier, he missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, his only start on the PGA Tour since August 2015.

If the 1,570-word blog is any indication, Woods’ focus has been on his ongoing golf course design projects in Chicago, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, and at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Mo.; as well as next week’s Presidents Cup, where he will serve as an assistant to captain Steve Stricker.

“My biggest takeaway from the Ryder Cup last year was that as a player, it’s very simple: all you have to do is get ready to play four-ball and foursomes, and know who you might play with,” wrote Woods, who was also an assistant to Davis Love III as last year’s Ryder Cup. “As an assistant captain, you’re in charge of the wives, girlfriends, families, caddies and individuals that support the golfers. It’s a lot more organizational work than I was used to as a player.”

Woods did not directly address his Memorial Day arrest in South Florida on suspicion of driving under the influence. He entered a pre-trial diversion program last month and the judge ordered a continuance of the hearing on Oct. 25. He did, however, allude to the support he’s received from his fans.

“Finally, thanks to my fans for your patience and encouragement,” he wrote. “The last two years have been challenging and I have gone through a great deal. But you have always been there for me and I can’t thank you enough.”