Injured Tiger Woods to skip Players Champs

Tiger Woods will not contest the Players Championships next week due to a back injury that casts doubt over his title defence at Augusta National next month.

TIGER WOODS.
TIGER WOODS. Picture: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Tiger Woods says his injured back needs rest after casting significant doubt over his hopes of a Masters title defence by pulling out of next week's elite Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass due to a back injury.

On Friday, Woods announced he would skip the elite Players Championship, which he was won twice.

"It was not an easy decision, but I will not be attending (the Players)," Woods posted to Twitter. "I have to listen to my body and properly rest when needed.

"My back is simply just not ready for play next week. I'm sad to miss one of the best events of the season."

Earlier on Friday, Woods' agent Mark Steinberg released a statement saying: "Back just not ready. Not concerning long term, just not ready.''

The 15-time major winner also withdrew from this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, where he had won eight times.

Woods, 44, has had four back surgeries in his career, including spinal fusion surgery in 2017 that sidelined him for 10 months.

However, his back was healthy enough throughout 2019 to win a fifth Masters green jacket in April before a record-equalling 82nd US PGA Tour victory at the Zozo Championship in Japan in October.

He was also the only player to go undefeated in all matches at December's President Cup at Royal Melbourne, where he led his US team to victory as a playing captain.

Woods also appeared healthy at the beginning of this year, making his 2020 debut in January at the Farmers Insurance Open where he tied for ninth.

At his own event, the Genesis Invitational at Los Angeles' Riviera Country Club in February, Woods caused concern when he did not practice on a sunny Tuesday before the tournament.

Woods began the Genesis with a creditable 69 but finished in last place of all the players who made the cut.

"I feel stiff, but I have weeks like that, especially in the cold mornings like it was the other day,'' Woods said following the third round of the Genesis three weeks ago.

"I don't quite move as well and that's just kind of how it's going to go.''

Woods will now be under speculation of where he will play next and whether he will get enough competitive rounds in before the Masters.

At the first major of the year, which will be played April 9-12, Woods aims to equal Jack Nicklaus' record of six green jacket wins at Augusta National.


AAP