Woods to miss next several weeks
Undergoes successful back surgery, will miss Masters for first time as a professional
- Tiger Woods, ranked No. 1 in the world, has been battling back issues during the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season. (Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods will miss the Masters and be sidelined for an extended period of time after undergoing surgery 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. The surgery was performed Monday in Park City, Utah.
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 major he has missed since 2008. Woods last won the Masters in 2005.
“Tiger was gracious in keeping us updated of his condition and making us aware of his decision," said tournament and Augusta National chairman Billy Payne. "We wholeheartedly offered our best wishes for his immediate and long-term recovery. Tiger will be in our thoughts and will be missed by our patrons and all of us at the Masters tournament next week. He is one of our most decorated champions and we look forward to his healthy return in 2015 and beyond."
Woods, 38, 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 presented by MasterCard, a tournament he has won eight times, including each of the past two years.
"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."
He will begin intensive rehabilitation and soft-tissue treatment within a week. Woods could begin chipping and putting -- after assessment by his doctors -- in three weeks with the goal of returning to play sometime this summer.
For Woods, this is the latest in a growing list of injuries.
June 2013: After tying for 32nd at the U.S. Open, Woods missed his AT&T National due to a left elbow strain before returning at The Open Championship.
March 2012: Citing an injury to his left Achilles' tendon, Woods withdrew from the WGC-Cadillac Championship, limping off the course after 12 holes during the final round. He returned two weeks later to win at Bay Hill.
May 2011: Making his first start since suffering a left knee and Achilles’ injury during the final round of the Masters a month earlier, Woods withdrew from THE PLAYERS Championship after just nine holes. He was later diagnosed with a sprain of the MCL ligament in his left knee and a strain to the left Achilles' tendon. He missed three months, including the U.S. Open and The Open Championship before returning to action at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August.
April 2011: Woods suffered an injury to his left knee and Achilles’ tendon during the final round of the Masters and later missed the Wells Fargo Championship as a result.
May 2010: Woods withdrew from the final round of THE PLAYERS due to an inflamed facet joint in his neck. He didn’t miss a start, however, and tied for 19th at Muirfield Village.
June 2008: After winning the U.S. Open on a broken leg at Torrey Pines, Woods underwent season-ending reconstructive surgery on the ACL in his left knee.
April 2008: Following a runner-up finish at the Masters, Woods underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage to his left knee.
December 2002: Woods underwent surgery to remove fluid from around the ACL in his left knee. Woods was out a few weeks before returning to win at Torrey Pines in his first start of 2003.
Sad to say I’m missing the Masters. Thanks to the fans for so many kind wishes. http://t.co/Ofbre9VHEL— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 1, 2014
This year, Woods is off to the worst start of his career after admittedly not doing much work on his game in the offseason.
He failed to make the 54-hole cut at Torrey Pines, where he had won eight times including a U.S. Open, and followed with a tie for 41st in Dubai. In nine of his 18 seasons as a professional, Woods had won at least one of his first two starts.
Woods showed signs of turning things around with a 65 in the third round of The Honda Classic but a day later back spasms forced him to withdraw after 13 holes. He returned to defend his title at Trump National Doral the following week but broke par just once on the completely redesigned course before finishing in a tie for 25th in what was his most recent start.