Tiger Woods will miss the Masters for the first time in his career after undergoing back surgery earlier this week.
The world’s number one golfer made the announcement on his website on Tuesday, explaining he had to undergo a microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve in his back that has been troubling him for months.
“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 in a statement on TigerWoods.com. “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 will be the first time in 20 years that Woods will not be competing in the event he has won four times.
With the goal of returning to competition by summer, Woods will begin his intensive rehabilitation, aiming to be able to chip and putt by the end of the month.
He has been coping with back complaints since last summer which saw him withdraw after 13 holes on the final day of the Honda Classic.
Still chasing golfing great Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 Majors, Woods has been stranded on 14 for six years. His last time competing was during the US Open in 2008. Since then, he has endured scandals in his personal life, knee surgeries and time in a rehabilitation clinic.
“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.” – Luke Mahoney
Top photo from Keith Allison’s Flickr photostream.