Tiger Woods announced on Saturday (AEST) that he will miss the 2016 Masters.
In a statement on his website, Woods said he had made progress in his recovery, but was not ready to compete and still has 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,” Woods said in the statement.
“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 next week 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.
“I’d like to express my disappointment to Billy Payne, the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I won’t be competing. It’s a very important and special week to me, and it’s upsetting to miss it. I do plan to attend the Champions Dinner and see a lot of old friends.
“I’d like to thank the fans for their concern and support. The last few years have been difficult, but I have the best fans anywhere, and I want them to know that.”
This is the second time in three years Woods is skipping the Masters, missing the 2014 event due to similar back surgery.
The 14-time Major winner has won at Augusta National four times, tied with Arnold Palmer for the second-most green jackets. However, Woods’ quest to match Jack Nicklaus’ record of six victories has stalled, with his last Masters win coming in 2005 and just one top-10 finish at Augusta in his last four appearances.
Woods had two corrective back surgeries in the fall, and hasn’t played in a US PGA Tour event since last August. For much of the winter he had shed little light on the status of his back, but did post a video of his swing on Instagram last month and has since said he had been able to resume some practice.