Tiger Woods Comments on Recovery from Back Surgeries, Conditioning, Future

Danny WebsterAnalyst IIIApril 26, 2016

NASSAU, BAHAMAS - DECEMBER 06:  Tiger Woods of the United States waits on the 18th green after the final round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany, The Bahamas on December 6, 2015 in Nassau, Bahamas  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Tiger Woods said he was "tired" but felt "pretty good" Monday after playing a few holes for the first time since August.

Woods played five holes at his Bluejack National golf course in Montgomery, Texas, the first such action for the 14-time major champion since his 13-under performance at the Wyndham Championship.

"I haven't been out here playing like this. I hadn't played any holes until today," Woods said, per Bob Harig of ESPN.com. "I know people have said I've played holes back at Medalist, but I haven't. This is actually the first time I've played holes since Wyndham. It's been a while."

The 40-year-old Woods underwent back surgery for a second time in September and later had a follow-up procedure due to discomfort.

"I'm just progressing," Woods said, per Harig. "You saw how I was going at it today—nice and smooth. That's harder than I have been going at it the last month. Just gradually progressing. We're just trying to progress, and I'm doing that."

When Woods announced he would be having another surgery, he said his aim was to return early this year. He missed the Masters Tournament, but Alex Miceli of Golfweek reported Monday that Woods is registered for this year's U.S. Open, which is set for Oakmont Country Club from June 16-19.

That doesn't give Woods a lot of time to prepare, but he said he's glad to get back to everyday activities, per Harig:

It's been a long road. To actually be able to play soccer with my kids again, to do something like this, to be able to live life ... that's what's been nice. Five months ago I couldn't. To be three months out of surgery and feel like that, it was tough. I still have a long ways to go. [But] I'm on the back side. I'm getting better, but I'm also getting closer to feeling better every day.

[...]

I've got to get stronger and I've got to get faster. I'm not hitting it very far right now. I still have a lot more to go in the tank as far as speed, which is great. I'm able to hit the ball as far as I am right now just cruising. Then trying to work on new drivers [he experimented with two on Monday], too, at the same time. That's kind of a test.

Woods also mentioned that he has not set a return date and it's a process he needs to take slowly, per Harig:

I haven't set any date to when I'm playing again, which is frustrating to say. But to be honest with you, that's what I've had to do. I've had to go with that mindset. Would I have said that five months ago? No way. I couldn't imagine then feeling like I do right now. Keep improving. Keep getting better. Keep making progress. And I'm doing that.

For most of his career, Woods' game was based on power and precision. His back problems, however, have shown he can't rely on power anymore. It's what's been his downfall in recent tournaments.

Until he shows a change in approach at the tee, it's hard to imagine Woods will contend at major tournaments.