For the first time in his career, Tiger Woods will not compete in the Masters Tournament after having back surgery, according to Tiger Woods official Twitter account and tigerwoods.com. The No. 1 golfer in the world announced on his website that he has “undergone a successful microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve that has been hurting him for several months” but will be unable to play in the Masters.
A microdiscectomy is a surgical procedure performed with a microscope, used to remove herniated disc material, according to knowyourback.org, a spine research site of the North American Spine Society. While it’s not confirmed that Woods indeed ruptured a disk in his spine, a pinched nerve may come from inflammation or pressure on the nerve root as it exits the spine and could result in lower back pain, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Citing “back spasms and pain,” Woods, 38, had to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.
“Woods will begin intensive rehabilitation and soft-tissue treatment within a week,” according to the press release on Woods’ website. “Healing and recovery times differ for each individual based on many physiological factors, but Woods could begin chipping and putting, after assessment by his doctors, in three weeks.”
By being sidelined for the 2014 Masters, which begins April 10, Woods will miss this opportunity to win his fifth green jacket. Woods has won 14 major championships in his career, four short of Jack Nicklaus’ 18 majors record, and has 79 PGA Tour wins, three shy of Sam Snead’s 82 PGA Tour wins.
“It’s tough right now, but I’m absolutely optimistic about the future,” Woods said in the release. “There are a couple [of] records by two outstanding individuals and players that I hope one day to break. As I’ve said many times, Sam [Snead] and Jack [Nicklaus] reached their milestones over an entire career. I plan to have a lot of years left in mine.”