Woods going to the Masters, but not to play

MIAMI • Golf's former world No. 1 Tiger Woods confirmed on Friday that he will not participate in this week's Masters tournament, saying his rehabilitation from back surgery has not progressed far enough to allow him to compete.

The 14-time Major champion, a four-time Masters winner, has not played a PGA event since last August. Since then, he has had back surgery and a follow-up procedure to ease discomfort from a pinched nerve.

"I've been dedicated to my rehab and improving daily, but I'm not physically ready to compete in the Masters," the 40-year-old tweeted.

There had been a bit of mystery about his status for the year's first Major, as he had not updated the status of his rehabilitation for several weeks. He had said there was no timetable for his return.

"After assessing the present condition of my back and consulting with my medical team, I've decided it's prudent to miss this year's Masters," he said in a posting on his website. "I've been hitting balls and training daily, but I'm not physically ready. I've said all along that this time I need to be cautious and do what's best for my long-term health and career.

"Unfortunately, playing Augusta wouldn't be the right decision. I'm absolutely making progress and I'm really happy with how far I've come, but I still have no timetable to return to competitive golf."

He is missing the Masters for only the second time since his tournament debut in 1995. But he will still go to Augusta National for the annual Champions' Dinner.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 03, 2016, with the headline 'Woods going to the Masters, but not to play'. Print Edition | Subscribe