Masters champion Tiger Woods visits his Florida restaurant as doctor describes 'almost miraculous' recovery

TIGER WOODS' fifth Masters victory was described as “almost miraculous” by one of the world’s leading spinal surgeons.

And another renowned doctor said he would have rated Woods’ chances of returning to his former greatness after his fourth back operation at “zero per cent”.

Texas-based back specialist Richard Guyer carried out the operation that saved Woods' career, almost two years to the day before his Augusta triumph – on April 19, 2017.

He removed a corroded disc – which act as the spine’s shock absorbers – and fused together two vertebrae at the base of his spine.

The torn and damaged disc had been pressing against the spine’s nervous system, causing jolts of excruciating pain. Any form of movement would also have been agony.

Woods, 43, himself recalled how he once collapsed on the patio outside his Florida mansion, and had to send his daughter, Sam, to get help.

Lifting ten-year-old son Charlie aloft in jubilation near the 18th green, as he did after sinking the winning putt at Augusta, would have been unthinkable.

Guyer is banned from commenting on the operation’s success because of patient confidentiality.

But there are no such restrictions on Jack Zigler, the highly-respected president of the International Society for the Advancement of Spinal Surgery.

The likelihood you could ever get back there [to the top level] is so small, it’s almost miraculous.

Zigler told the Washington Post he was amazed as he watched Woods’ heart-warming one-shot victory.

He said: “On the one hand, you have somebody who’s in great physical condition and extremely well motivated — it’s the ideal patient.

“But on the other hand, he’s going back to an unbelievable level of function. The likelihood you could ever get back there is so small, it’s almost miraculous.”

But another surgeon said it would have been wildly over-optimistic to assess Woods’ recovery chances as “small” and instead would have put them as “non-existent”.

That was the verdict of Wellington Hsu, a surgery professor at Northwestern University, who has made a special study of athletes recovering from spinal fusion.

He has seen basketball, basketball and hockey players return to action and perform at a high level. But he said: “Before Tiger Woods, for golfers it was zero per cent success rate.”

One of the sportsmen Hsu studied was former top golfer Dudley Hart, winner of two PGA Tour events before he underwent fusion surgery in 2009.

Tiger Woods visits his Florida restaurant

TIGER WOODS headed to his Florida restaurant just two days after winning his fifth green jacket. 

The Masters champion, 43, was snapped outside The Woods Jupiter today where he swung by to continue his celebrations.

It's safe to say the restaurant were delighted to see their owner return to winning ways in a golfing major, posting a video of fans wildly cheering as he sunk his simple putt to claim victory on Sunday.

So, what can you get at the restaurant and bar?

Well, a New Zealand rack of lamb would set you back $39 while the finest filet steak costs $47 and the standard The Woods Burger is $18.

Cocktails come in around $12 while the homemade brownie sunday sounds like a good way of spending $10.

As well as an extensive wine list, the menu is completed with a cigar list for customers to enjoy.

He made several unsuccessful attempts to return to professional golf, and Hsu decided because of the rotational force of the swing, the demands of playing golf after fusion surgery were greater than any other sport.

He commented: “What Tiger Woods has achieved is nothing short of amazing. Any time you deal with a golfer, especially a professional golfer, lumbar fusion is the absolute last treatment option you’re willing to consider.

“I never thought having a lumbar fusion would be compatible with a return to playing golf – and I’m just talking about returning to play at a high level, not winning the Masters by any stretch of the imagination.

“When he had his surgery done, I had a lot of questions about what his prognosis was. I was probably giving as bleak of a prognosis as anyone could, just to get back to the sport.

“We really don’t have a mode of success for these kind of procedures. That’s why surgeons were choosing to be as conservative as possible for as long as possible.”

Both surgeons agreed other back sufferers should not rush to have fusion surgery, stressing it is a last resort, even though its success rate has risen considerably in recent years.

Woods underwent two discectomies – operations to shave the troublesome disc, to stop it pressing against the nerves – and a ‘clean-up’ operation before his fusion surgery.

They provided only temporary relief. But Zigler said they were not a waste of time, as they could have allowed Woods to resume playing – but fusion surgery was seen as a drastic measure that would improve his quality of life – but could ruin his golf swing.

Zigler added: “About 95 per cent of back sufferers do not require any form of surgery, and the other five per cent need to undergo more conservative, structured care before considering fusion surgery.

“But for those who do require a fusion, Tiger’s example has clearly offered them extra hope. We don’t expect everybody to go out and win the Masters – but it now looks like it is possible!”

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Congratulations @tigerwoods! The 2019 Masters champ! We’re so proud of you.

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