Was this really a surprise? Probably not. Tiger's recovery after his ill-advised trip to the Middle East in January hadn't gone as well as hoped, although his appearance at Big Cedar Lodge earlier this week raised our hopes a bit.
But it wasn't to be. Tiger had another back surgery, and the details are in this Golf Digest article. The most reasonable expectation is that, between rehab and reconditioning, he'll miss the rest of the season.
However, I was interested to note that Tiger had a different surgery this time -- not a microdiscectomy but a single-level fusion. The difference? The first removes herniated material from between discs, the second fuses two discs together. The fusion, according to Dr. Richard Guyer of the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute, who did the surgery, is that this is only a six-month recovery period.
That makes sense to me. For all practical purposes, they're completely removing the source of the problem -- the space between the discs that grinds out that "herniated material" isn't there anymore.
So it seems the big question is no longer whether Tiger will finally be able to function normally in his everyday life; it sounds like this will do the job. But how will effectively having one less vertebra affect his golf swing?
I guess it'll be a while until we know for sure. But in the meantime, it's nice to know that Tiger probably won't be crippled with back pain anymore.
And now we wait...