I have more than one buddy who can testify to the fact that I've often played with back spasms, yelping my way around the course. The thing is the spasms, for me at least, tend to hit when you start moving. So I don't yelp while people are hitting the ball. I'm standing still.
I read recently that Freddie has told, or would like to tell, Tiger that you can't play golf with a bad back. And, playing golf at the elite level with a bad back is obviously a problem. But many players have done and are doing so. I read about Sam Snead playing and winning a tournament-- in Argentina, I think it was--while suffering from severe back problems. He said he accomplished this by relying on his short game. In fact, I wrote an article about it.
I think Tiger has to reassess things. Does he really believe he can still compete? If so, he's going to have to accept that he won't be able to do it by trying to drive it out there with Jason Day, Bubba, and DJ. Those days are gone. Tiger possesed the most fearsome and devastating short game I think we've ever seen--especially his putting. The problem is, he doesn't have it right now. If he doesn't find it again, he's got a better chance of getting hit with a piece of SkyLab than catching Jack.