Tiger Woods Cleared for Full Golf Activity, No Timetable for Return to PGA

Posted on: October 18, 2017, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: October 18, 2017, 11:43h.

Tiger Woods teased fans over the weekend when he posted a video on his Twitter account showing him hitting a driver at an unnamed golf course. But other than the caption “Making Progress,” he gave no indication when he might return to competitive golf.

Tiger Woods back
Tiger Woods posted a video of him hitting a driver after his doctor cleared him to resume full golf activity, but no definitive date has been set for his return to the PGA Tour. (Image: AP)

The winner of 79 PGA Tour events seems in no hurry to return, using a cautious approach to his rehab from his April back surgery when he had an anterior lumbar interbody fusion performed by Dr. Richard Guyer of the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute.

Patients who have that type of procedure usually return to full activity after six months, which would put Woods in line to possibly play in the fall. The Tour’s season began two weeks ago at the Safeway Classic in Napa, California. But Woods still has a long way to go from hitting a driver on a video to preparing and playing four rounds of golf.

Woods might consider playing in his Hero World Challenge in late November, but odds are he’ll wait until the first of the year to make his return.

He was listed in the Westgate SuperBook’s Masters odds in April at 100-1.  Jordan Spieth is the favorite at 7-1, followed by Dustin Johnson (9-1), Rory McIlroy (10-1), Jason Day (12-1), and Rickie Fowler (15-1).

Signs of Patience

Unlike his last comeback a year ago, where he may have rushed his return after his third back procedure, the 41 year old seems to be in no hurry to get back on the golf course.

“He got a nice report and is allowed to proceed, Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg told ESPN’s Bob Harig. “He can do as much as he needs to do. Tiger is going to take this very, very slowly. This is good, but he plans to do it the right way.”

Hank Haney, his coach for six years, put on his Twitter account that his video swing looked pretty good.

“That’s a swing he could win with, it’s not across the line and stuck inside coming down, a little stiff looking but it’s good enough,” he tweeted Monday.

Age Not in Favor

Woods will turn 42 on December 30 and while that isn’t ancient for a golfer, it certainly has become a young man’s league.

Only three players 40 and over won on the PGA Tour last year, Rory Sabbatini, Henrik Stenson and Pat Perez, and the major championships were won by players much younger. Only Sergio Garcia, who captured the Masters at 37, wasn’t in his twenties. Brooks Koepka, 27, won the US Open, Jordan Spieth, 24, won the Open Championship and Justin Thomas, 24, won the PGA Championship. They were part of a trend of 20-somethings that won tournaments in 2017.

Woods did address his career last month when he was assistant captain at the President’s Cup.

“I don’t know what my future holds for me,” the 14-time major winner said. “Overall, I’m very optimistic how I’m progressing. But I don’t know what my golfing body is going to be like because I haven’t hit a golf shot yet.”