After a short break for injury, Tiger Woods heads into this week’s Players Championship with his neck in good shape.
Woods withdrew from last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, citing a neck injury. But he was back in action on Tuesday, playing a practice round at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida, in the run up to The Players.
With his injuries in check, Woods is confident his putter is back in shape as well.
“The putting feels so much better as I feel better,” Woods said. “That kind of goes hand in hand. Just like my golf swing. If my back’s aching, then I’m not hitting the ball hard and it’s not going very far, and I’ve hit some squirrelly shots.”
Woods’ short break came after a long one. The seasoned pro recently took 15 months off, following back surgery in December 2016. He just returned to the TOUR last year, coming back to a victory at the TOUR Championship in September.
The golfer has experienced serious pain in his neck, knees, elbow and back throughout the course of his career.
“It’s just part of the nature of the sport,” Woods said on the matter. “If you have force, it’s got to go somewhere. If it’s not my lower back, it’s going to be in the hip. I have had four knee operations. It’s got to go somewhere. We’re not immune to having the forces go somewhere. Eventually on a repetitive sport, you’re going to wear out something.”
News of Woods’ neck injury came just a few weeks after the release of a study by the Barrow Neurological Institute, which looked at the impact of the modern golf swing. The study particularly focused on Woods’ history of pain, concluding that the speed and force of the swing favored by professionals twists the lumbar spine, leading to “repetitive traumatic discopathy.”
For now, Woods feels recovered enough from his injuries and is positive as he goes into The Players, which has attracted all 50 of the top 50 players in the world.
“The Players will be a great test and keep me going forward,” Woods said. “I’ve played three tournaments this year so far, and that’s about right. I was going to play three or four. If I would have gotten my rounds in last week, it would have been four tournaments, so I’m right there where I need to be.
“My finishes are getting a little bit better each and every time I’ve gone out so far this year, and I’ve gotten a little bit more consistent with my play.
“Everything is back on track.”