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Rory McIlroy on Tiger Woods' latest back surgery: 'He should be back for the Masters'

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According to Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods underwent his latest surgical procedure to his troublesome back on Dec. 23 and should be ready to play in the Masters.

Meeting with reporters ahead of the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, McIlroy offered an upbeat assessment.

“In his words, it was a small procedure,” said McIlroy, who is making his first start of 2021. “Obviously, any time you’re 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 bits up.”

Woods announced Tuesday on Twitter that the latest surgery (a microdiscectomy procedure) removed a pressurized disc fragment that was causing nerve damage. It was Woods’ fifth surgery on his back; he’s also had four surgeries to his left knee.

In his statement, Woods said he would not playing next week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego or his own tournament next month, the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club north of Los Angeles.

“Obviously he won’t be playing for the next couple of months,” McIlroy said. “But he should be back for the Masters, if not before that.

“I think he’ll be just fine.”

Speaking to Golfweek on Tuesday, Golf Channel analyst Notah Begay, a longtime friend of Woods and a former teammate at Stanford, said the 15-time major champion and 82-time PGA Tour winner was “doing great.”

“I just exchanged texts with him a little while ago and he’s doing great,” Begay said. “He was out on the course hitting golf balls. He wasn’t ripping drivers. He was just getting a feel for the game after the surgery and seeing just how everything is. This surgery relieved a lot of discomfort.”

Begay said he hoped Woods would play at least twice before the Masters if he is able to get his body and golf game in shape. Possibilities for Woods? The World Golf Championships tournament that has been relocated from Mexico to the Concession Golf Club near Tampa, Fla. (Feb. 25-28); the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando (March 4-7); The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (March 11-14); the Honda Classic near his home in southeast Florida (March 18-21); and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas (March 24-28).

The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia is April 8-11.

original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/01/20/tiger-woods-back-surgery-masters-rory-mcilroy/

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