JUPITER, Fla. — Tiger Woods said he had fusion surgery on his back because he could no longer tolerate the pain, and that he wants to get back on the PGA Tour.
"I haven’t felt this good in years," he said Wednesday in an update on his website .
Woods had the fusion surgery on April — his fourth surgery on his back dating to the spring of 2014 — and said it provided "instant nerve relief."
The surgery meant missing all the majors for the second straight year. Woods said he did everything possible to get ready for the Masters and was "ready to go." He said it was similar to the 2008 U.S. Open, which he won on a shattered left leg, because the pain was after he made contact.
"I figured, ‘Can I handle it?’ This time the answer was, ‘probably not. That shows the effect nerve pain can have," Woods wrote.
Woods had a second back surgery in September 2014, and a third one in November 2014, and then sat out for 15 months until returning last December at his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, where he made 24 birdies but tied for 15th in an 18-man field. He missed the cut at Torrey Pines in late January, and then flew to Dubai and withdrew after opening with a 77.
That was his last round.
"I could no longer live with the pain I had," Woods wrote. "We tried every possible non-surgical route and nothing worked. I had good days and bad days, but the pain was usually there, and I couldn’t do much. Even lying down hurt. I had nerve pain with anything I did and was at the end of my rope."
Woods said he was encouraged that Davis Love III, Retief Goosen, Lee Trevino, Lanny Wadkins and Dudley Hart are among those who have had fusions or disc replacements and all returned to play.
"But more than anything, it made their lives better," Woods wrote. "That’s the most important thing … that I can have a life again with my kids."
Woods said he is not contemplating when he might play again. He said he can’t twist for three more months and he is concentrating only on short-term goal.
"There’s no hurry," Woods said. "But, I want to say unequivocally, I want to play professional golf again."