Following an opening round 74, Woods couldn’t claw it back on the second day and finished with 75 to fall four shots behind the cut with a seven-over 149. The American had made the cut in his last 26 tournaments dating back to 2012, but Tiger couldn’t continue that streak in his first appearance for three months.
Tiger undertook a microdiscectomy on March 31 of this year (2014) to repair a herniated disc and relieve pressure on a nerve. Not just a minor tweak, folks but Dr. Andrew Hecht, who is the chief of spine surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, indicated that 90 percent of elite athletes return to the exact same level they were at before the surgery.
“Anyone that’s had any kind of nerve impingement, it’s no joke,” he said. “That part was relieved as soon as I got out of the surgery. That nerve impingement, that pain that I was feeling going down my leg, was gone. I’ve heard numerous people talk about it, and I’ve had people come up to me and say they had the same procedure and got their life back and that’s basically how I felt.”
In a season that has been interrupted by a back injury that kept him out of the Masters and the U.S. Open, Woods had made his return to action at the Congressional Country Club in a bid to get some course time ahead of this month’s Open Championship at Hoylake.
While the former world number one didn’t make it through until the weekend despite being backed by a number of Betfair fans, Woods admitted he felt positive after returning to competitive action.
“All little things I know I can fix. As I said, it’s very encouraging,” said the 38-year old.
With 14 majors to his name, Woods is still hunting Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles and this month’s Open will give the American the chance to edge closer to his compatriot’s record.
Woods won when the Open was last at Royal Liverpool in 2006, but the three-time Open winner is now preparing to tee off at the year’s third major without playing any more tournaments before heading across the Atlantic.
Woods’ place at the top of the world rankings came to an end earlier this summer when Australia’s Adam Scott reached number one in the world for the first time in his career. While Tiger will no doubt be looking to reclaim his place at the top of the rankings, perhaps more pressing for the American will be trying to end a major drought that stretches back since the 2008 U.S. Open.
Despite his continued struggles at the majors, Woods will head into the Open alongside Rory McIlroy as the pre-tournament Betfair favourite. Current world number one Adam Scott finds himself in the chasing pack alongside Henrik Stenson, recent US Open champ, Martin Kaymer and Justin Rose.
Woods stated he intended to take his children on a “promised” 2-week summer vacation and therefore will not be playing in any additional events prior to teeing it up at the Open Championship.
The Open Championship is scheduled for July 13-20 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club at Hoylake, in the UK.
Photo credits: top picture courtesy of the DenverPost
bottom picture courtesy of golfclubatlas.com