World No. 1 Tiger Woods began light chipping and putting a few days ago as he continues his latest comeback from a debilitating injury, according to his agent, Mark Steinberg.
Woods, who last played in the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship March 6-9, where he was bothered by a bad back and finished in a tie for 25th, underwent a microdisectomy March 31 to alleviate pain caused by a pinched nerve in his back. The injury forced him to miss the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he has won eight times, and the Masters, where he's won four green jackets, for the first time in 20 years.
"He seems to be doing well," Steinberg told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. "He doesn't like that he's not playing, but he's focused on the recovery and his spirits are good. Now that he's had the procedure and he's up and moving about and he's more active each day, he's feeling pretty good... He's doing light stuff, whatever his doctors are telling him to do."
The news was first reported by ESPN.com.
Woods, 38, who is rehabbing in Florida, has missed five major championships since he had reconstructive left knee surgery following his win in the 2008 U.S. Open, his 14th and last triumph in a major. Since then he has missed tournaments due to injuries to his back, elbow, neck, knee and Achilles.
There is no timetable for Woods' return.
"When I put out the initial release after his back surgery I said we expected that he would be back sometime this summer and there has been nothing that has happened from the day of the surgery until now that would indicate anything other than that," Steinberg said. "I know that's a wide range to give you. Because it's still pretty early that's the range we need to be in. As each week goes on, we'll get a little bit more clarity and he'll be able to do a little bit more and more, and hopefully in the coming weeks we'll be able to pinpoint more of an idea when he might be able to come back.
" ... The pain he was in was incredibly high but went away close to right after the surgery. The pain that forced him to have the surgery is gone."
Woods, off to the worst start of his professional career, has played four tournaments this season. He started having trouble with his back last August when back spasms brought him to his knees after a shot in the final round of The Barclays in New Jersey. This year, back spasms forced him to withdraw in the final round of the Honda Classic after 13 holes. The following week he was again bothered by his back but still shot the lowest round of the tournament, a 66 in Saturday's third round, before he faded in the final round.
Last year, Woods won five times and was named the PGA Tour Player of the Year.
"I see him being a little more patient this time around, which is great to see," Steinberg said of Woods' initial recovery steps. "He's making some pretty responsible decisions. He definitely has his eye on this (rehab), and it makes no sense to rush a comeback by one, two, three, even four or five weeks. This is about the next 10, 15 years, and he knows what he needs to do.
" ... He's with (his) kids and it is killing him that he can't do what he normally does with the kids. It's also killing him that he can't swing a golf club and win tournaments. It doesn't sit well when he can't do what he wants to do."
-- McClatchey News Service