Tiger Woods was unusually open in his blog post on Wednesday describing his spinal fusion surgery -- the fourth he has endured on his back. Woods said the relief he got made him feel better than he has in years, and that he was delighted at the lack of pain he experienced as a result of going under the knife.
He also mentioned a few other golfers who have undergone a similar surgery to relieve the nerve pain they were experiencing.
You mention the word 'fusion,' and it's scary. Other guys who have had fusions or disc replacements like Davis Love III, Retief Goosen, Lee Trevino, Lanny Wadkins and Dudley Hart … they have all come back and played. But more than anything, it made their lives better. That's the most important thing … that I can have a life again with my kids.
Love in particular is interesting because he and Tiger are close, and he said on Wednesday that he consulted Woods about the particular type of surgery he had. In doing so, he actually invoked the name of a non-golfer to encourage Woods to go ahead with the procedure.
"He's asked about the fusion surgery for years, and I told him to talk to Peyton Manning," Love told Golf Channel. "He's the one who convinced me. If Peyton could do it and come back and get hit, Tiger and I aren't going to get hit, to watch him play I knew I had to do it."
"I texted him and asked if the pain went away, and he said it immediately went away," Love added. "I woke up [after the surgery] and literally had tears in my eyes it felt so much better. He told me it was automatic relief."
Woods echoed something similar.
It has been just over a month since I underwent fusion surgery on my back, and it is hard to express how much better I feel. It was instant nerve relief. I haven't felt this good in years.
Love noted that there is a difference in their surgeries -- Woods had it on his lower back, Love and Manning had it on their necks -- but the concept is the same.
Woods' recovery process and journey back to playing competitive golf will undoubtedly be a long one, but there are at least examples of other athletes bouncing back to have successful end-of-career runs. Love has won since the surgery. Manning took a Super Bowl. Woods is younger than Love was when he had the procedure and less battered than Manning.
That doesn't mean everything will be sunshine and roses from this point forward, but it does mean there's some hope for the 14-time major winner. There is a way forward and another professional at his level who has provided an example of how exactly one comes back from this type of surgery.