Bad news, Tiger Woods fans. Tiger Woods is not playing in the 2016 Masters.
Woods waited until Friday night at 8 p.m. Eastern to alert the world that he would not be chasing a fifth green jacket next week at Augusta National Golf Club.
“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.”
The 14-time major champion hasn’t played competitively since finished tied for 10th at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., in August. Woods was making a last-ditch effort to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs but came up short of that goal.
That week, Woods complained of pain that he thought was attributable to his hip. However, when he visited his surgeon 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, Woods 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 suggested anything he could accomplish in golf from that point forward would be “gravy.” Woods offered no timetable for his return or even when he could swing a golf club again.
After reports in late February suggested 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 himself hasn’t offered an update on any further progress but did say at a March news conference for one of his course designs that 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.