Four-time winner Tiger Woods has announced that he will not be making his return in next week’s Masters, after all.
Hopes that Woods would be playing in the season’s opening major at Augusta National were raised when his name was included on the pre-tournament interview schedule released on Thursday.
However, the 41-year-old said last night that he is not “tournament ready” and therefore won’t be able to mark the 20th anniversary of his first major victory - a record-breaking 12-shot success - by playing next week.
“Unfortunately, I won’t be competing in this year’s Masters,” said Woods in a statement on his website. “I did about everything I could to play, but my back rehabilitation didn’t allow me the time to get tournament ready.
“I’m especially upset because it’s a special anniversary for me that’s filled with a lot of great memories. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since I won my first Green Jacket.”
The former world No1, who won the last of his major titles in 2008, has now missed the Masters three times in the last four years.
He added: “I have no timetable for my return, but I will continue my diligent effort to recover and want to get back out there as soon as possible.
“I’d like to pass along my regrets to (Augusta chairman) Billy Payne, the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons, that I won’t be there. I will be at the Champions Dinner and I look forward to seeing a lot of old friends.
“Augusta National has been a very important place to me and my family for over 20 years, and while I’m disappointed, it will be good to be back there Tuesday.”
Woods has not played competitively since withdrawing from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the start of February due to back spasms.
The 14-time major winner insisted he had not been in pain after an opening 77 at Emirates Golf Club, but pulled out of what was just his third event since August 2015 before the second round.