Golf great Tiger Woods’ career has certainly been on the decline, and 2015 is already proving to be no different. Just last week, Woods was forced to drop out of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines due to back pain.
Woods has won at Torrey Pines eight times, but last week he dropped out just two days after the tournament began. The tournament was his second PGA start of the year and he was two over par at the time of his withdrawal. His first start was the week before, which saw the worst score of his career.
The PGA Tour’s website reports that Woods cited back pain due to deactivated gluteal muscles.
“My glutes are shutting off,” Woods said. “Then they don’t activate and then, hence, it goes into my lower back. I tried to activate my glutes as best I could, in between, but they never stayed activated.”
“Low back injuries are common in athletics and are the most common injury in golfers. It occurs in approximately 30% of male golfers and 25% of female golfers — poor swing mechanics is the main culprit,” says Dallin DeMordaunt, MD at Sierra Regional Spine Institute. “Golfers can help prevent injury by getting instruction in proper swing technique. Warming up before golfing by hitting some golf balls — beginning with putting and wedges and progressing to driving — may also help prevent injuries. Also, golfers will benefit from a routine back stretching and strengthening program.”
Back pain is fairly common and can cause a number of peripheral effects. It is the leading cause of disability for Americans under the age of 45. Woods, 39, had surgery on a pinched nerve last year, according to CNN.
Experts say that up to 80% of the population will have back pain at one point or another, and many Americans do — 26 million of them between the ages of 20 and 64 live with frequent back pain.
It’s not clear if Woods can recover from his back problems, but there are whispers that his career may be over.