AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tiger Woods’ injury issues have been well-documented, with his latest setback being his missing the 2017 Masters.
And even those close to him aren’t optimistic for the near future.
Mark O’Meara sat next to Woods at Tuesday’s Champions Dinner and didn’t sugarcoat the 14-time major champion’s situation.
As Golf Channel reports, O’Meara, a longtime Woods mentor, talked the 41-year-old’s health and didn’t paint a pretty picture.
“I feel for him,” O’Meara told Golf Channel. “He’s day to day. He said, ‘Some days I have good days; some days I have bad days.’ (The pain) is pretty much in the same area in his lower back that he’s had the surgeries on. But he’s such a competitor that he can’t come out and play half of what he did.
“I know it’s a struggle for him, I can tell you that much.”
All seemed on a good path in December when Woods made 24 birdies at the Hero World Challenge in a performance that turned some heads.
But a back spasm forced him to withdraw from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in early February and he’s been on the shelf ever since.
Woods has undergone three back surgeries, with two of them forcing him out of action for the 16 months preceding the Hero World Challenge.
The returning back issues ultimately kept Woods, a four-time winner at Augusta, out of the Masters, as he said in announcing his withdrawal that his back rehabilitation didn’t allow him proper time to prepare for the year’s first major.
Woods said that day that there’s no timetable for his return, and O’Meara didn’t have insight on that topic. But the 1998 Masters champion did confirm Woods is once again itching to get back to competition – whenever that may come.
“He misses it,” O’Meara said. “When you’re a competitor like he is, and you’ve accomplished what he has, he certainly misses being here and playing the game at a high level because that’s what he’s been all about for all of these years.”