Tiger Woods will not compete in the 2020 Players Championship next week at TPC Sawgrass, with his long-time agent saying Woods' back remains a hindrance to him playing.
“Back just not ready,” Woods' agent Mark Steinberg told ESPN. “Not concerning long-term, just not ready.”
Woods was not listed in the PGA Tour field for their biggest event at the Friday 5 p.m. deadline. After the deadline passed, Woods then tweeted about his decision not to play.
It was not an easy decision, but I will not be attending @THEPLAYERSChamp. I have to listen to my body and properly rest when needed. My back is simply just not ready for play next week. I'm sad to miss one of the best events of the season, OUR Championship.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) March 6, 2020
Woods is a two-time Players winner, including the last time in 2013.
Woods, who fell out of the Official World Golf Ranking top 10 after The Honda Classic, chose not to play the WGC-Mexico Championship after hosing The Genesis Invitational at Riviera near Los Angeles. He then opted not to play his hometown Honda Classic for the second year in a row.
An eight-time Arnold Palmer Invitational winner, Woods was expected to play at Bay Hill as a precursor to The Players Championship. He would then compete in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play as his final Masters tune-up. Now, it appears Tiger Woods' 2020 schedule will include showing up to Augusta National having made just a couple of PGA Tour starts in 2020.
In Woods' last start, after making the cut at Riviera, he struggled with back stiffness on the weekend and finished dead last among players who made the cut with rounds of 76 and 77. In his other start at the Farmers Insurance Open, Woods finished T-9.
At this point, it's hard to not be concerned about Woods' back health. However, with all signs pointing toward an emphasis on being ready for the Masters, the expectations for Woods' title defense are likely to be lowered.