Thursday
July 24, 2014

Golf

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Woods to miss Masters after back surgery

Masters champion Tiger Woods receives his green jacket in 1997.
First time since his debut in 1995

Tiger Woods had surgery on his back on Monday and will miss the US Masters for the first time since 1995. It also holds up his chance of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 19 majors. Woods has won 14.

NEW YORK — Tiger Woods will miss the Masters for the first time in his career after having surgery on his back. Woods said on his website that he had surgery on Monday in Utah for a pinched nerve that had been hurting him for several months, knowing that the operation would keep him from Augusta National next week for the first time since he was in high school. The No. 1 player in the world is a four-time Masters champion.

“After attempting to get ready for the Masters, and failing to make the necessary progress, I decided in consultation with my doctors to have this procedure done, Woods said. “I’d like to express my disappointment to the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I will not be at the Masters. It’s a week that’s very special to me,” he said. “It also looks like I’ll be forced to miss several upcoming tournaments to focus on my rehabilitation and getting healthy.”

Woods has been coping with back issues since last summer, a twinge in the final round of the PGA Championship, spasms in the final round of The Barclays that caused him to fall to his knees, and then it returned with alarming regularity during the Florida swing. He withdrew after 13 holes in the final round of the Honda Classic with what he described as lower back pain and spasms.

Woods said he hopes to return to golf this summer, though he could not say when. It’s possible he could at least start chipping and putting in three weeks. His website said Woods could have sustained more damage if he had continued to play.

He will have to wait until the US Open, maybe longer, to resume his quest to reach Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 professional majors. Woods won his 14th major at the 2008 US Open on a badly injured left leg that required season-ending surgery two days after his playoff win at Torrey Pines.

Woods has 79 career wins on the PGA Tour, three short of the record held by Sam Snead. He was already off to the worst start of his career. He missed a 54-hole cut at Torrey Pines, where he was the defending champion. He tied for 40th in Dubai, and then withdrew from the Honda Classic and tied for 25th at Doral.

“It’s tough right now, but I’m absolutely optimistic about the future,” Woods said. “There are a couple (of) records by two outstanding individuals and players that I hope one day to break. As I’ve said many times, Sam and Jack reached their milestones over an entire career. I plan to have a lot of years left in mine.”

AP

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