Tiger Woods will miss the Masters for the second time in three years. He announced Friday night on his website that he will not compete in the year’s first major championship, which begins Thursday at Augusta National.
Woods has been out of competition for seven-plus months following back surgery in September and a follow-up back procedure in October.
“After assessing the present condition of my back and consulting with my medical team, I’ve decided it’s prudent to miss this year’s Masters,” Woods said in a statement.
“I’ve been hitting balls and training daily, but I’m not physically ready. I’ve said all along that this time I need to be cautious and do what’s best for my long-term health and career. Unfortunately, playing Augusta next week wouldn’t be the right decision. I’m absolutely making progress, and I’m really happy with how far I’ve come, but I still have no timetable to return to competitive golf.”
Updates have been scarce, but the lack of confirmation in recent days had led to speculation that Woods, 40, might play. That won’t be the case, and Woods will remain out of competitive golf for the foreseeable future.
A four-time winner of the Masters, Woods tied for 17th a year ago, after a nine-week break to address issues in his game. It was his best finish in a major championship in 2015 and the second-best of what turned out to be his worst year as a pro.
Woods missed the cut in the other three majors and withdrew or missed the cut in five of 10 tournaments. His best finish was a tie for 10th at the Wyndham Championship. Just a few weeks later, he had microdiscectomy surgery on his lower back — the same procedure he had in March 2014, which caused him to miss the Masters that year — and another back operation Oct. 28.
In December, Woods said his rehabilitation was going slowly and he didn’t “see a light at the end of the tunnel.” In early March, in a blog post on his website and during a news conference, he said he had started chipping, putting and hitting short irons.
The only other update on his situation came in a March 11 blog post on his website, in which he said he was “working hard on my short game at my outdoor practice facility and on my indoor Full Swing golf simulator. Still no timetable on my return, but I’m excited to get back out there with the guys.”
That return won’t come at Augusta National.
| “I’d like to express my disappointment to Billy Payne, the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I won’t be competing,” Woods said on his website. “It’s a very important and special week to me, and it’s upsetting to miss it. I do plan to attend the Champions Dinner and see a lot of old friends.
“I’d like to thank the fans for their concern and support. The last few years have been difficult, but I have the best fans anywhere, and I want them to know that.”