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.
“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.”