TAMPA (CBS Tampa/AP) — Tiger Woods is not the only one suffering from his back injury – the golf industry is, too.

Golf.com reports that Woods’ absence could cost the industry an estimated $15 billion.

Brad Adgate, a senior vice president and director of research for Horizon Media, tells Golf.com that the 30 percent ratings drop without Woods playing could translate to losses across the golfing world.

Taking what the golf industry was valued at in 2011, $68.8 billion, Golf.com calculated that golf would lose $15 billion due to Woods’ absence.

Despite the potential loss, Rick Horrow, CEO of Horrow Sports Ventures, believes this could initiate a market correction for the industry.

“Life without Tiger can be effectively good for the industry,” Horrow told Golf.com. “It gets promoters, sponsors and TV executives thinking more creatively, working to cultivate a greater understanding and appreciation for the inherent excitement, tradition and allure of golf.”

Woods pulled out of The Masters after undergoing microdiscectomy surgery to repair a pinched nerve in his back that had been bothering him for several months.

The four-time Masters champion will be out several weeks, and maybe even months, following the March surgery. Woods hopes to get back on the course this summer.

“It’s tough right now, but I’m absolutely optimistic about the future,” Woods said. “There are a couple of records by two outstanding individuals and players that I hope one day to break. As I’ve said many times, Sam (Snead) and Jack (Nicklaus) reached their milestones over an entire career. I plan to have a lot of years left in mine.”

The 38-year-old Woods stopped playing in the final round at the Honda Classic on March 2 because of what he called back spasms and pain in his lower back. He tried to defend his title the following week at Doral, only for his back to flare up again in the final round, when he shot a 78, the highest Sunday score of his PGA Tour career and his first closing round without a birdie. Woods also withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational because of persistent back pain.

This has been the longest sustained problem Woods has had with his lower back.

Woods has collected 14 majors during his 18-year career, and is currently four away from Nicklaus’ record of 18. Woods has played in every Masters since 1995.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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