Tiger Woods has started to practice some “light” chipping and putting and there have been “zero” setbacks or complications since he endured back surgery last month, according to the golfer’s agent Mark Steinberg, via a report by ESPN.com’s Bob Harig:
“He’s doing a little bit more and more each day,” Steinberg told ESPN.com. “He’s getting to the point of light chipping and putting and the doctors and trainers seem to be pleased with where he is. He is on schedule but we don’t know what that schedule means. I don’t know when he intends to be playing competitively.
“But I expect it to be this summer. I know that’s a wide range, but as the weeks go by we’ll be able to pinpoint an approximate time. It’s still a little early for that. Nothing that has gone on from the day of the surgery until today gives me any pause to amend what I said then. I know that’s broad and vague but we can’t pinpoint a specific time until we’re further along.”
Woods had a microdisectomy on March 31 to alleviate a pinched nerve that caused him pain at his last two tournaments, the Honda Classic and the WGC-Cadillac Championship, and forced him to miss the Masters for the first time in two decades.
Woods also withdrew prior to the start of the Arnold Palmer Invitational because he was in so much pain.
“The level of discomfort he was in prior to having this was incredibly high,” Steinberg said. “That pain went away close to right after the surgery. The pain was mostly from the surgery itself. But the pain he was in and causing him to force the surgery is gone.”
Tiger faced a similar situation in 2011 when he dealt with Achilles and knee injuries that forced him to miss four months of the season, including two majors. Woods returned to competition a month after the Masters and then withdrew after nine holes at The Players Championship. He later said he tried too quickly to return from rest and rehabilitation. Steinberg assured that this would not be the case with the current injury.
“I’ve seen a very responsible approach to getting back,” Steinberg said. “This is about the next 10 or 15 years, this is not about the next 10 weeks. This is not about targeting any specific tournament. If he needs to wait one or two or three extra weeks he will. He’s thinking about this very, very long term.”