I don't pretend to know the conditions of his endorsement contracts, but it would only seem logical that at the very least his sponsors expect him to maintain some means of presence and visibility... if for nothing more than honoring speaking engagements and such, to include occasional public-relations type matters that pertain more specifically to his sponsor obligations.
Genesis, I thought anyway, is one of his bigger sponsors, who by the way happens to be sponsoring this week's tournament at Riviera. Although he cancelled two weeks ago, he still expressed intentions that he would be at the tournament to support the sponsor.
Although he's entitled to the same medical privacy rights as anyone else, I'm getting the vibe here that he's suppressing pertinent information in an effort to protect potential future sponsorship revenues. I mean, why else not just fess up and say "Unfortunately it looks like my back problems are a little more serious than first thought, and as a result I've been instructed by my doctors to avoid prolonged activities that could exacerbate the problem, in hopes I can avoid yet another surgery."???
He lives in Jupiter, FL... the plane ride to LA has to be 4-5 hours, at least. His situation, it now seems anyway, has digressed to the point that he's being advised to avoid sitting for long spells, i.e. air travel.
I think his back is royally messed up again, and I think he's trying to come to grips with figuring out how he's supposed to exit the stage, while at the same time maintaining/increasing sponsorships.
He's had 3 back surgeries, I'm sure the surgeons working on him are some of the best in the world. If they can't put him back together well enough to stay competitive, after three operations, then he's done.
Maybe another operation is happening sometime over these next three weeks, for all we know. Or possibly already happened. But I'd guess it's more about quality of life than quality of golf. I think golf no longer remains a realistic option.