May 24, 2017

Tiger’s Blog: Updates on Tiger Jam and My Recovery

I heard so many great things about last weekend’s Tiger Jam. It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year and it’s the first time I couldn’t attend. Special thanks to MGM Grand and to all my friends who pitched in to make Tiger Jam a big success. Kate Upton played poker and hosted our Saturday night dinner. I knew she would crush it, and she did. Chris Paul joined us on the golf course and at poker where he made the final table. I also want to thank Wesley Bryan for putting on an outstanding clinic at Shadow Creek and the World Poker Tour, Phil Hellmuth and all the poker pros that supported Tiger’s Poker Night. My buddy Kid Rock supported the event in a big way at poker and the parties and spent time meeting our guests. And I heard the after party at Topgolf Las Vegas was a blast. I also want to thank my friend Darius Rucker for a great concert Saturday night. Darius and I have known each other for a long time. He sang at my wedding and at my dad’s funeral. And he rode in a golf cart with Notah Begay III and me the entire week last year at the Ryder Cup. He’s the best.

We couldn’t have been successful without the hard work of my TGR Live staff, and I’m grateful for what they did too.

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.

I could no longer live with the pain I had. We tried every possible non-surgical route and nothing worked. I had good days and bad days, but the pain was usually there, and I couldn’t do much. Even lying down hurt. I had nerve pain with anything I did and was at the end of my rope. The process leading up to my decision to have surgery was exhaustive. I consulted with a specialist, and after weighing my options, that’s when I decided to go to Texas to have surgery.

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.

I did everything I could to play at Augusta and was ready to go. Unfortunately, it was kind of like the 2008 U.S. Open. The pain was post-impact when I swung the club. I figured, ‘Can I handle it?’ This time the answer was, ‘probably not.’ That shows the effect nerve pain can have.

Obviously, it was a huge disappointment not to play. I hate to miss any major, especially the Masters, but the reality is I just couldn’t play. Again, I want to congratulate Sergio on a great win.

I had a fantastic time at the Champions Dinner. There were so many great stories from the 1950s about Arnold. Some of them most of us already knew, but some of the younger guys didn’t. It was just a lot of fun. We all miss him.

As for returning to competitive golf, the long-term prognosis is positive. My surgeon and physiotherapist say the operation was successful. It’s just a matter of not screwing up and letting it fuse. I’m walking and doing my exercises, and taking my kids to and from school. All I can do is take it day by day. There’s no hurry.

But, I want to say unequivocally, I want to play professional golf again.

Presently, I’m not looking ahead. I can’t twist for another two and a half to three months. Right now, my sole focus is rehab and doing what the doctors tell me. I am concentrating on short-term goals.

I want to thank my doctors for their great work and support throughout this process. I also want to thank the fans for your phenomenal support. It means more than you know. There’s a long way to go, but as I said, words cannot convey how good it feels to be pain-free.

Next month, TGR Live will host the Quicken Loans National. It’s going to be a fun event for us because we’ve never been to TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. Billy Hurley will defend his title, and we’re waiting for a few more commitments. It should be another memorable tournament.

For a while now, I have been more involved with TGR growing domestically and working with future sponsors for our global expansion. It’s an exciting time and we will continue to push forward.

Before my surgery, I had the chance to spend the day with Johnny Morris at his Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri.  Together, we announced Payne’s Valley, TGR Design’s latest project.  Construction on Payne’s Valley is already underway.  This is scheduled to be my first public golf course which I am really excited about.  The property is set among the Ozark Mountains making it particularly spectacular.  Payne’s Valley will be a championship-caliber course that players of all skill levels can come together and enjoy.

A few more things:

I want to publicly thank Lorne Rubenstein for working with me on my book, The 1997 Masters. Lorne kept me on track and put up with a lot of memories and long stories. The reviews were mostly really good, and it seems like a lot of people like it.

I like Golden State to win the NBA Championship.

Good luck to the Cardinal men’s teams at the NCAA Championships. I’m pulling for you. And, congratulations to the women’s team. It was a great run.

That’s about it for now. Have a great summer.