Tiger Woods withdraws from Masters with back injury

Tiger Woods has ruled himself out of playing The Masters for the first time in his career.

Tiger Woods has erred on the side of caution with respect to his lingering back injury and has officially withdrawn from next week’s Masters tournament.

Woods has not missed a Masters tournament since he played as an amateur in 1995 but the world number one’s official website reported that “Tiger Woods announced Tuesday that he has undergone a successful microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve that has been hurting him for several months.”

And then quoted Woods:

“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 of the microdiscectomy.

“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. It also looks like I’ll be forced to miss several upcoming tournaments to focus on my rehabilitation and getting healthy.

“I’d also like to thank the fans for their support and concern. It’s very kind and greatly appreciated.

“This is frustrating, but it’s something my doctors advised me to do for my immediate and long-term health.”

If you want to know more details about the injury, Dr. Ara Suppiah provided a nice overview of the back problem on the Golf Channel (h/t Geoff Shackleford). Interesting to hear that this particular injury would make sleeping very difficult. It may explain why Woods looked so tired in the recent announcement of his new tournament sponsor.

There is a nice article from Jim Litke in the NY Times questioning whether his fitness and strength building craze is now leading to long term injuries that may be pointing towards the end of a career.

From “Maybe Woods Wasn’t Built for the Distance

A bad back is worrisome enough. That it arrives at the end of a string of injuries to Woods’ left leg, knee and elbow, as well as both Achilles — and almost all within the last half-dozen years — makes you wonder whether it’s part of a larger pattern.

Woods has been doing that since age 3, and until the surgeries began piling up, it seemed as if he could go on doing it long enough to win more major tournaments that anyone had. But he’s been stuck at 14 since the 2008 U.S. Open, and suddenly it’s relevant that he’s playing a game that has knocked just about every other great champion off his pedestal by the mid-to-late 30s.

The news isn’t looking all that good for Phil Mickelson either who isn’t a certainty to take his place in the field. A Masters without Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson would be a strange one indeed. Between them they have won seven green jackets in the last 17 years.

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