Tiger Woods ranks 26th a year after spinal fusion surgery

David Donald

Everyone loves a comeback story.

Tiger Woods is on track to make one of the greatest comebacks in the game of golf if not sports.

Since undergoing a spinal fusion last year, Woods has steadily climbed from 1,199th to 26th in the world golf rankings.

Last weekend, Woods came close to winning his first golf major in more than ten years after finishing second to Brooks Koepka at the 2018 PGA Championship.

The last major victory for Woods came in 2008 at the U.S. Open. Woods injured his neck in an SUV accident stemming from marital problems with then-wife Elin Nordegren. Several months after the crash he would withdraw from the final round of the Players Championship because of a bulging disc in his neck.

A cascade of injuries and surgeries led to more tournament withdraws over the years.  For the most part Woods would struggle with neck and back pain while trying to stage a comeback.

He could still improve his ranking over the next few weeks if he has a strong showing at the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Tigers Woods Timeline:

  • Dec. 2002 – Woods has knee surgery. Fluid surrounding the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is removed. Misses a few weeks, but wins the 2003 Buick Invitational at Torrey when he returns to the game.
  • April 2008 – Woods has arthroscopic knee surgery to repair damaged cartilage.
  • June 2008 – After winning the U.S. Open title at Torrey Pines, Woods undergoes reconstructive knee surgery to repair his ACL. He returns to golf after a nine-month recovery, finishing second to Tim Clark in the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Feb. 2009.
  • May 2010 – Woods withdraws from the Players Championship due to bulging disc resulting from an inflamed facet join in his neck.
  • April 2011 – Woods withdraws from the Wells Fargo Championship due to a minor injury to his knee and Achilles’ tendon.
  • May 2011 – An MCL ligament and Achilles’ tendon sprain lead to Woods’ withdraw from the Players Championship after nine holes.
  • March 2012 – Suffering further Achilles’ tendon pain causes Woods to exit during the final round at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
  • June 2013 – An elbow strain sidelines Woods, and he is forced to miss the AT&T National.
  • March 2014 – Lower back spasms prompt Woods to withdraw on the 13th hole from the Honda Classic.
  • April 2014 – After undergoing surgery for a pinched nerve in his back, Woods announces he will miss the Masters for the first time in his professional career.
  • August 2014 – Lower back pain strikes again. Woods is forced to withdraw from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational during the final round.
    February 2015 – After playing 11 holes at the Farmers Insurance Open, Woods walks off citing lower back pain.
    September 2015 – Woods announces he’s had his second spine surgery – a microdiscectomy to remove disc fragment pinching a nerve.
    October 2015 – Undergoes a followup back procedure following his second back surgery.
    April 2016 – misses the Masters for the second time in three years to focus on his back condition and recovery.
    September 2016 – announces a return to competition at the Safeway open in October.
    October 2016 – Withdraws from the Safeway Open.
    February 2017 – Withdraws from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic because of back spasms.
    March 2017 – Back spasms for Woods to miss the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He also misses the Masters for the third time in his career.
    April 2017 – Woods undergoes his fourth back surgery – an anterior lumbar interbody fusion at the L5/S1 vertebrae. The operation was successful in relieving ongoing back and leg pain, he says.
    August 2018 – Woods rank 26th worldwide.

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