McIlroy confident Woods will recover from fifth back operation

Fatiha Betscher

Close friend, Rory McIlroy said that he’s confident Tiger Woods will fully recover following a pre-Christmas fifth back operation.

The 15-time Major-winning Woods underwent surgery on the 23rd December to remove a pressurised disc fragment after admitting to feeling discomfort four days earlier when he and 11-year old son, Charlie, finished seventh in the 2020 PNC Father and Son Challenge.

Woods issued a statement on Tuesday of the news but then McIlroy, speaking ahead of this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, revealed the date of Woods’ latest surgery was, in fact, two days prior to Christmas.

“I’ve known for a while. He had it on the 23rd of December,” said McIlroy. “In his words, it was a small procedure. Obviously any time you are being cut into you try to avoid that as much as you can, but he was back on his feet the next day so I don’t think we can read too much into it.

“I think they were just trying to clean a couple of little bits up. Obviously he won’t be playing for the next couple of months but he should be back for the Masters, if not before that, so I think he’ll be just fine.”

Woods underwent spinal fusion surgery shortly after the 2017 Masters, but defied the odds to win his fifth green jacket amid emotional scenes at Augusta National two years later.

“He won the Masters with four back surgeries so there’s not much he can’t do,” McIlroy added during his press conference ahead of this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Woods, who will miss the Farmers Insurance Open later this month and also hosting the Genesis Invitational in suburban Santa Monica in February, said: “I look forward to beginning training and am focused on getting back out on tour.”


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