How A Surgery Helped Tiger Woods Make The Biggest Comeback in Golf History

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About a year ago, it seemed inevitable that Tiger Wood’s career was coming to an end. He was ranked 1,199th in world golf rankings, and it seemed like there was no coming back. He had already peaked years ago and many golf analysts were saying that Woods should retire. He had already achieved so much in his career and it would be a shame if he embarrassed himself in his final years.

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In the years since Wood’s last major victory in 2008, he had a quite a turbulent and uneasy life. In 2009, Woods was exposed for his infidelity to his wife, Elin Nordegren. In 2010, Nordegren divorced Woods taking his assets, although a prenuptial agreement was signed.

Most recently, Woods was arrested for a DUI in 2017. It was reported that Woods had five different drugs in his system at the time of his arrest. Throughout all of this, Woods had severe back injuries that made it hard for him to walk, let alone play professional sports. Seeing the low points Woods was having in his life, it really does make sense why critics would be saying Woods should retire.

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Last weekend, Woods proved everybody wrong. Although Woods has not won a major tournament in over 10 years, he came extremely close last week placing 2nd at the 2018 PGA Championship. This was a huge success because Woods surpassed top players such as Jordan Spieth and Francesco Molinari. Woods attributes his unexpected rise to a complex surgical procedure he about a year ago called spinal fusion.

Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure used to alleviate chronic pain caused by the small bones in the spine called the vertebrae. The process involves fusing two painful or inflamed vertebrae together so that they can heal into one single bone. This is achieved by performing a bone graft and placing the small pieces of bones between vertebrae to be fused together.

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Spinal fusion works because lower back pain is usually caused when damaged or inflamed vertebrae move. There is often no real way to fix these vertebrae, so the best option is to fuse them together so that they do not move at all. The vertebrae not moving lowers spinal flexibility, but it also relieves pain. Spinal fusion was obviously Woods’s last choice because he did not want to lose mobility, but after five failed alternate treatments, this was his last resort.

This last resort paid off because Woods has risen from 1,199th in world gold rankings in December 2017 to his current spot at 26th. This means he jumped up a whopping 1,173 places in the 8 months after recovering from surgery. This feat is extremely impressive for a player that is more than 40 years old, let alone a player who had a major operation a year ago.

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In the next three months, Woods has a busy schedule to get back to the top of his game.  He is playing in both the FedEx Cup and the Ryders Cup. Although analysts used to doubt Tiger Woods, there’s no doubt that Woods can climb even higher in golf world rankings in the near future after this weekends performance.

 

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