Tiger Woods has been given the green light from his doctor to resume hitting golf balls at full power in his latest step towards a fresh competitive comeback.
The 41-year-old is recovering from his fourth back operation in the last three years, the latest of which involved back fusion surgery in April, and he has previously hinted that he could choose to retire if he cannot reach full fitness.
Having not played since withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic in February, the 14-time major winner posted a video on his Twitter account on Sunday hitting a powerful drive along with the caption “Making progress”.
Now, Woods has been given full medical clearance to resume hitting shots at full power, according to his agent Mark Steinberg, but that will not be a signal for the American to rush his return to competitive action.
“He can do as much as he needs to do,” Steinberg told ESPN. “He got a nice report and is allowed to proceed. Tiger is going to take this very, very slowly. This is good, but he plans to do it the right way.”
Woods has not won a major since claiming the US Open in 2008, while his last tournament success came four years ago, with that drought set to continue with no scheduled return in sight.
Fears that Woods could rush his return stem from the fact that Tuesday marks a year to the day that the 2018 Ryder Cup begins, and Woods’ desire to feature in the tournament has not waned during his injury-enforced absence after featuring as a vice-captain at the event last year.
In August, Woods pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence after he was found asleep at the wheel of his car. The charge was later dropped on the condition that Woods agreed to enter a rehabilitation programme.
The numerous injuries and issues for Woods threw his future in the sport into doubt, especially after a number of failed comebacks, but Steinberg stressed that this latest return will be taken slowly. “We have not even talked about it,” Steinberg added. “We will see what each day brings, what each week brings.
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