Tiger Woods has scrapped his long-awaited return to action in this week’s Safeway Open in California and also pulled out of next month’s Turkish Airlines Open in Belek.
The 14-time major winner said he’d decided to put his comeback on hold due to his game being “vulnerable” and not feeling ready to be tested at Tour level after his lengthy lay-off.
Woods has not played since last August after undergoing two back surgeries in a short space of time around a year ago.
“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,” said Woods in a statement.
“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 US 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.”
That event is due to be played in the Bahamas in December.
“I would like to apologise 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,” he added.
“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.”
Woods officially entered the Safeway Open, the opening event on the 2016-17 PGA Tour season, event a few hours before last Friday’s 5pm deadline.
However, today’s development followed him playing in a charity event today at Pebble Beach.
“He just didn’t feel like his game is where he wanted it to be to be competitive,” Notah Begay, Woods’ close friend and former Stanford team-mate, told the Golf Channel.