Friday, April 1, 2016

Tiger Woods will skip Masters, says still no timetable for return

Tiger Woods is not playing in the 2016 Masters.

On Friday night, the four-time Masters champion made the somewhat last-mintue announcement that he is still not healthy enough to compete. 

"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 on his 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. 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."

Woods hasn't played competitively since finished tied for 10th at the Wyndham Championship in August. Seeking a berth in the FedEx Cup playoffs, Woods needed to win the event to extend his season.

That week in North Carolina, Woods complained what he thought was pain in his hip. However, when he visited his surgeon, Dr. Charles Rich, in Utah for a common visit after his PGA Tour season ended, it was determined the pain stemmed to an issue in the same spot on his back where he has a microdiscectomy performed in March 2014. Rather than trying to rehabilitate the injury, Woods chose surgery, a second microdiscectomy in September. A month later, Woods underwent a second back surgery.

In December at his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, Woods was sullen and lamented the lack of progress in his recovery, saying he struggled to do more than walk and rest on his couch and in his bed. He offered no timetable for his return or even when he could swing a golf club again.

“Pretty much everything beyond this will be gravy,” said Woods, who turned 40 on Dec. 30. “For my 20 years out here I think I’ve achieved a lot, and if that’s all it entails, then I’ve had a pretty good run. But I’m hoping that’s not it.”

After a report in late February claimed Woods had suffered a setback in his recovery, Woods tweeted a video of him gently hitting a 9-iron into a simulator with the caption "Progressing nicely."

Since then, Woods or his agent Mark Steinberg haven't offered an update on any further progress. However, at a news conference at the Houston-area Bluejack National, a course he designed, Woods said he was looking forward to getting back to competing on the PGA Tour.

Woods said he does intend to attend the annual Masters Champions Dinner on the Tuesday of tournament week.

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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