Former world number one Tiger Woods will not compete in next week’s Masters after failing to recover from his latest back injury.
Woods said earlier this month he was “trying everything” to be fit for the first major of 2017 and was included on a pre-tournament interview schedule released by tournament organisers on Thursday.
However, the 41-year-old said on Friday evening he would not be fit to mark the 20th anniversary of his first major title by competing at Augusta National and still had no timetable for his return.
Champions dinner with friends Tuesday, but not tournament ready to play Augusta. https://t.co/ip14qY7sTM
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) March 31, 2017
“Unfortunately, I won’t be competing in this year’s Masters,” Woods said in a statement on his website. “I did about everything I could to play, but my back rehabilitation didn’t allow me the time to get tournament ready.
“I’m especially upset because it’s a special anniversary for me that’s filled with a lot of great memories. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since I won my first green jacket.
“I have no timetable for my return, but I will continue my diligent effort to recover and want to get back out there as soon as possible.
A yes to the Champions dinner but a no for the Mastershttps://t.co/4HudIgJHXj
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 1, 2017
“I’d like to pass along my regrets to (Augusta chairman) Billy Payne, the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons, that I won’t be there. I will be at the Champions Dinner and I look forward to seeing a lot of old friends.
“Augusta National has been a very important place to me and my family for over 20 years, and while I’m disappointed, it will be good to be back there Tuesday.”
Woods has not played competitively since withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic at the start of February due to back spasms.
The 14-time major winner insisted he had not been in pain after an opening 77 at Emirates Golf Club, but pulled out of what was just his third event since August 2015 before the second round.
His agent Mark Steinberg said at the time Woods was pleased it was a spasm, rather than the nerve pain caused by a back injury which required three operations in the space of 19 months.
However, a week later Woods also pulled out of the Genesis Open and Honda Classic and then cancelled his scheduled press conference at the former event, which benefits his foundation.
Woods, who won the last of his major titles in 2008, has now missed the Masters three times in the last four years.