Tiger Woods pulls out of the Players Championship

Two-time winner will miss Sawgrass to protect his back

Tiger Woods has had four back operations since 2014.

Tiger Woods has withdrawn from next week’s Players Championship at Sawgrass to protect his ongoing back injury.

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The 15-time major champion, who won the prestigious event in 2001 and 2013, informed PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan he would not be participating.

In a statement to ESPN and Golf Digest, Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg said: “Back just not ready. Nothing concerning, just not ready.”

Woods, 44, cited “back stiffness” when announcing he would miss this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. He has had four operations on his back since 2014 and his latest setback comes just 34 days before he is due to start the defence of his Masters title at Augusta National.