The Barclays: Finished T2 at The Barclays in the first event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. Missed a seven-foot birdie try on the final green that would have tied for the lead. Finished at 8-under par with Steve Stricker, Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington, one stroke behind winner Heath Slocum, who sank a 21-foot par putt on the final hole to win the title. The start was his 250th on the PGA TOUR, and for the first time in his professional career in a stroke-play event, he played with the same player (Zach Johnson) all four rounds.
Woods had back surgery on September 16, 2015. In late March 2016, he announced that he would miss the Masters while he recovered from the surgery; he had also missed the 2014 Masters due to a back problem. "I'm absolutely making progress, and I'm really happy with how far I've come," he explained in a statement. "But I still have no timetable to return to competitive golf." However, he did attend the Masters Champions Dinner on April 5, 2016. For the first time in his career, he missed all four majors in one year due to problems with his back. In October 2016, he told Charlie Rose on PBS that he still wanted to break Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major titles. Woods underwent back surgery in December 2016 and spent the next 15 months off the Tour. He made his return to competitive golf in the Hero World Challenge.
Early in Woods' career, a small number of golf industry analysts expressed concern about his impact on the competitiveness of the game and the public appeal of professional golf. Sportswriter Bill Lyon of Knight Ridder asked in a column, "Isn't Tiger Woods actually bad for golf?" (though Lyon ultimately concluded that he was not). At first, some pundits feared that Woods would drive the spirit of competition out of the game of golf by making existing courses obsolete and relegating opponents to simply competing for second place each week.