Woods confirms he will miss next week's Masters
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
(Reuters) - Tiger Woods will miss the Masters for only the second time since his tournament debut in 1995, saying he is "not physically ready" for the year's opening major next week.
The former world number one has been sidelined from competition since August as he continues his recovery from back surgeries, and was never likely to tee it up at Augusta National for the April 7-10 event.
"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 on his official website.
"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," said Woods, a four-times Masters champion.
Now aged 40, Woods has not won a major title since he clinched the 14th of his career at the 2008 U.S. Open and his form has slipped dramatically in recent years due to injuries and the mastering of a new swing.
A tie for 10th at the PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship in August, following a dismal season in which he missed three cuts in the majors, gave him encouragement before his health again intervened.
Three weeks later, he had a second microdiscectomy surgery to alleviate pressure on a disc in his lower back, before needing another procedure on Oct. 28 on the same area due to discomfort. Continued...