Golf: Tiger Woods postpones planned PGA comeback

Vice-captain Tiger Woods of the United States looks on during team photocalls prior to the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on Sept 27, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota.
Vice-captain Tiger Woods of the United States looks on during team photocalls prior to the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on Sept 27, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Tiger Woods has pulled out of his planned comeback to the PGA Tour following a 14-month absence.

The 40-year-old released a statement on Monday (Oct 10) saying he would not play in this week's Safeway Open in California, despite a PGA statement last week announcing his comeback.

The 14-time major winner has been out of action since undergoing surgery late last year to cure a long-standing back injury.

"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, who was also due to take part in next month's Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya, Turkey.

"My health is good, and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be."

 

Woods was one of the US Ryder Cup assistant captains as the hosts won back the trophy off Europe just over a week ago at Hazeltine.

He said that helped whet his appetite for a return to playing himself, but admitted he is not yet at the level to compete against the world's best.

"When I announced last week I was going to Safeway, I had every intention of playing, or I wouldn't have committed," added Woods.

"I spent a week with the US Ryder Cup Team, an honour 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 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.

"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 Hero World Challenge begins in early December in the Bahamas.

Woods has won it a record five times, the last being in 2011.

His last Major triumph was the 2008 US Open while he has not won any PGA Tour title for three years.