Tiger Woods withdrew from the 2016 Safeway Open, his intended PGA Tour comeback tournament.
Woods’ decision to pull out of the Napa, Calif., tournament at Silverado Resort is not related to his thrice-operated back. Rather, it’s apparently related to Woods’ inability to play golf up to his lofty standards.
The 14-time major winner released a statement explaining his decision:
After a lot of soul searching and honest reflection, I know that I am not yet ready to play on the PGA TOUR or compete in Turkey. My health is good, and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be.
When I announced last week I was going to Safeway, I had every intention of playing, or I wouldn’t have committed. I spent a week with the U.S. Ryder Cup Team, an honor and experience that inspired me even more to play. I practiced the last several days in California, but after a lot of hours, I knew I wasn’t ready to compete against the best golfers in the world. I will continue to work hard, and plan to play at my foundation’s event, the Hero World Challenge, in Albany.
I would like to apologize and send my regrets to Safeway, the Turkish Airlines Open, the fans in California and Turkey and those that had hoped to watch me compete on TV. This isn’t what I wanted to happen, but I will continue to strive to be able to play tournament golf. I’m close, and I won’t stop until I get there.
The 79-time PGA Tour winner announced his intention to return to competitive golf in September, saying he hoped to play in the Safeway Open, the European Tour’s Turkish Airlines Open in November and the Hero World Challenge, which his foundation runs, in December in the Bahamas. However, Woods made it evident with the language of his announcement that he could still back out of any or all of the tournaments.
“My rehabilitation is to the point where I’m comfortable making plans, but I still have work to do,” Woods said in announcing his return on his website. “Whether I can play depends on my continued progress and recovery. My hope is to have my game ready to go.”
Woods last competed on the PGA Tour in August 2015, finishing a season-best tied for 10th place in the 2015 Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., as part of an 11th-hour attempt to qualify for the PGA Tour playoffs. That week, Woods complained of hip pain. However, he learned in a visit with his surgeon that the source of his pain was the same spot on his back where a microdiscectomy was performed in March 2014. In September 2015, a second microdiscectomy was performed to alleviate the pain. A follow-up procedure was performed the next month, although Woods’ camp hasn’t disclosed details of the surgery or what it was intended to fix.