Tiger Woods undergoes back surgery to remove disk fragment

Surgery a surprise for Tiger Woods (3:00)

Bob Harig discusses Tiger Woods' recent back surgery and Woods' expected recovery time. (3:00)

On the heels of a trying season that saw him fail to seriously contend in major championships and miss five cuts while his world ranking plummeted, Tiger Woods announced Friday night that he underwent a second microdiscectomy surgery on his back Wednesday.

Woods first underwent this surgery in March of last year, which limited that season to only seven PGA Tour starts.

His latest announcement revealed that he won't play any of his three scheduled tournament starts remaining this year, instead saying he is hopeful for an "early 2016" return.

"This is certainly disappointing, but I'm a fighter," Woods said. "I've been told I can make a full recovery, and I have no doubt that I will."

Woods said via his personal website that he had felt discomfort in his back and hip in recent weeks, including during his season-ending 10th-place result at the Wyndham Championship last month. The surgery removed a small disk fragment that was pinching a nerve.

The surgery came as a surprise, said Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg. Just last week, Woods had formally committed to play in the Frys.com Open next month. But he had a previously scheduled follow-up doctor exam at which, Steinberg said, an issue in the same area of his back was discovered.

"He committed, thinking it was going to be a regular checkup," Steinberg told ESPN.com. "Obviously, that area where he had the microdiscectomy had to be treated again. And it leads us to where we are now."

Steinberg would not say how soon after the appointment the surgery was performed but acknowledged, "It was a really quick turnaround. It wasn't what he expected. ... But it was a really quick turnaround. not because something had to be done right there right now; it was so he could get back to golf as soon as he can. The doctor has told us that's a good prognosis from that standpoint."

The announcement on Woods' website states he "will begin intensive rehabilitation and soft tissue treatment within a week. Healing and recovery times differ for each individual based on many physiological factors, but Tiger is encouraged he can return early in 2016."

The surgery was performed in Park City, Utah, by neurosurgeon Charles Rich, who also performed the initial microdiscectomy operation.

Woods, who holds the record for most weeks atop the world ranking at 623, is currently 283rd in those standings.