Tiger Woods has returned to light-training, according to his agent, Mark Steinberg, following an operation on a pinned nerve in his back at the start of last month.
Due to the injury Woods was forced to miss the Masters, which took place a fortnight ago, for the first time in his professional career, but he is looking to put that disappointment behind him now and make a swift recovery.
“He’s doing a little bit more and more each day,” Steinberg said to ESPN.
“The level of discomfort he was in prior to having the surgery was incredibly high but that pain went away close to right after the operation. Now he’s getting to the point of light chipping and putting and the doctors and trainers seem to be pleased.
"He’s on schedule, and although we don’t know yet when he intends playing competitively, I expect it to be this summer.
"I know that is a wide range but as the weeks go by we will be able to pinpoint an approximate time. It’s still a little early for that."
Woods has only played in four tournaments this year, not finishing in the top ten in one of them, and his problems have been all too evident. This culminated at the Honda Classic in March, where the pain became too much for the 38-year-old to take and he was forced to withdraw mid-way through his final round.
News surrounding how well Woods’ recovery was going has generally been hard to come by, although the clearest indication of when he would return came when the American’s close friend Notah Begay seemed to suggest he was slightly behind schedule, and would be forced to miss the US Open in June.
However, this recent update on his condition will be good news for the golfing world as Woods' absence would reportedly cost the sport $15 billion – and an extended one, even more.
It is also excellent news for Woods’ personal aim of reaching Jack Nicklaus’ major winning record, which currently stands at 18. Many thought that Woods would have over-taken this feat already, but recent struggles – on and off the course – have seen him stutter and find himself stuck on 14 wins, his last major title coming in 2008 at the US Open.
His return should also lead to a boost in the viewing figures. The Masters received its lowest ratings since 1957 this year and the worry is this decline will continue until its most recognisable star returns to the sport.
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