Tiger Woods will miss the Masters and be sidelined for an extended period of time after undergoing a procedure to repair a pinched nerve in his ailing back, he announced Tuesday.
“After attempting to get ready for the Masters, and failing to make the necessary progress, I decided, in consultation with my doctors, to have this procedure done,” Woods said on his website. “I’d like to express my disappointment to the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I will not be at the Masters. It’s a week that’s very special to me. It also looks like I’ll be forced to miss several upcoming tournaments to focus on my rehabilitation and getting healthy.
“I’d also like to thank the fans for their support and concern. It’s very kind and greatly appreciated. This is frustrating, but it’s something my doctors advised me to do for my immediate and long-term health.”
Woods, the top-ranked player in the world, is expected to be out at least the next several weeks after undergoing a successful microdiscectomy.
It’s the first time in Woods’ career that he will not play the Masters, a tournament he has won four times. It’s the only major he had never missed and the fifth he has missed since 2008.
“Of course, we’re disappointed to hear that Tiger will be out of competition for a few months and will miss several big tournaments, but I’m sure no one is more disappointed than Tiger,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement. “I was pleased to hear that Tiger’s procedure to alleviate a pinched nerve was successful and that the long-term prognosis for his recovery is positive.
“We wish him the best as he rests and rehabs his back, and we look forward to welcoming him back to the Tour this summer.”
Woods has been bothered by a bad back since last August and earlier this year spasms forced him to withdraw from The Honda Classic with just five holes to play in the final round.
A week later, he again complained of back pain on the final day of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship but was able to finish the round, recording the highest final-round score (78) of his career.
Despite a week of treatment and rest, Woods was unable to defend his title at Bay Hill and withdrew prior to the start of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a tournament he has won eight times, including each of the past two years.
This now puts more pressure on Woods, 38, in his career-long effort to pass Jack Nicklaus for the most major victories ever. Nicklaus had 18 while Woods has 14, but has not won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.