4:14 PM ET
- Bob HarigESPN Senior Writer Close
- Senior golf writer for ESPN.com
- Covered golf for more than 20 years
- Earned Evans Scholarship to attend Indiana University
Tiger Woods has undergone another back surgery, this one to alleviate ongoing pain in his back and leg, and likely will not return this season.
The 14-time major champion announced on his website Thursday that the anterior lumbar interbody fusion was performed by Dr. Richard Guyer of the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute.
Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, told ESPN that Woods had the procedure Wednesday.
"The surgery went well, and I'm optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain," Woods, 41, said in a statement. "When healed, I look forward to getting back to a normal life, playing with my kids, competing in professional golf and living without the pain I have been battling so long."
Just Tuesday, Woods hit two practice shots during a course design announcement in Missouri and said that his back was "progressing."
He hasn't competed since Feb. 2, when he shot a 77 in the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour. The following day Woods withdrew citing back spasms and has rarely been seen in public.
This is Woods' fourth surgery since March 2014, and he has not played in a major since the 2015 PGA Championship. He had two back surgeries in the fall of 2015, then sat out for more than a year, not returning to competition until December at the Hero World Challenge.
"What I've learned and what we're hearing, a fusion is something that you do after you've tried just about everything else,'' Steinberg told ESPN. "He could have continued trying some of these other procedures.
"With the knowledge that Tiger got, this fusion was the path to the proper recovery that will allow him to do the things he wants to do. … Tiger feels kind of a weight off his shoulders and a path to recovery.''
Woods planned an ambitious early schedule this year, but after missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open and then withdrawing in Dubai, his status was in limbo. Woods decided not to play the Masters on the Friday prior to the event.
According to his Woods' website, the bottom lower-back disc severely narrowed due to previous herniations and three surgeries. Conservative therapy, which included rehabilitation, medications and limiting activities, failed as a permanent solution, and Woods opted to have surgery.
The minimally invasive procedure, according to the website, entailed removing the damaged disc and re-elevating the collapsed disc space to normal levels. This allows the one vertebrae to heal to the other. The goal is to relieve the pressure on the nerve and to give the nerve the best chance of healing.
"After he recovers from surgery, he will gradually begin his rehabilitation until he is completely healed," Guyer said in a statement released by Woods. "Once that's accomplished, his workouts will be geared to allowing him to return to competitive golf."
No timetable for a return to competition was offered, although Woods' website said he would rest for several weeks, with patients typically returning to full activity in six months. If that is the case, Woods would miss all of the major championships for the second consecutive year.