x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Woods has back surgery and will miss the Masters

It will be the first time Woods has missed golf’s premier tournament, the 78th edition of which begins next week, since he made his debut at Augusta National in Georgia as an amateur in 1995.

Tiger Woods had surgery on Monday in Utah for a pinched nerve in his back that had been hurting him for several months. Lynne Sladky / AP Photo
Tiger Woods had surgery on Monday in Utah for a pinched nerve in his back that had been hurting him for several months. Lynne Sladky / AP Photo

World No 1 Tiger Woods said Tuesday he will miss the US Masters after having back surgery to treat a pinched nerve that has been troubling him for several months.

“Sad to say I’m missing the Masters. Thanks to the fans for so many kind wishes,” Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the all-time record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, said on Twitter and on his website.

It will be the first time Woods has missed golf’s premier tournament, the 78th edition of which begins next week, since he made his debut at Augusta National in Georgia as an amateur in 1995.

It will also raise more question marks over whether he can ever catch up with Nicklaus, although he insists he can.

He had surgery on Monday in Park City, Utah, and the 38 year old will require several weeks rehabilitation.

“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 in a statement. “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.

“It’s tough right now, but I’m absolutely optimistic about the future,” said Woods, who has had a succession of crippling injuries over the past few years to his knees, wrists and now back, the payback for years of employing one of the most dynamic swings in all of golf.

As well as Nicklaus’s major record, Woods said he also aims to break the PGA victory record of 82 wins – including seven majors – held by Sam Snead. He pointed out that those two greats of the game achieved their milestones over an entire carer.

“I plan to have a lot of years left in mine,” he said.

In his first major championship as a pro, Woods won the Masters in 1997 by a record 12 shots. He also won in 2001, 2002 and 2005.

Since his last victory at Augusta, Woods has seven top-10 finishes in eight appearances and six top-5s, including last year, when he tied for fourth, four strokes behind winner Adam Scott.

Woods may yet be joined on the absent list at Augusta by great rival and three-time previous winner Phil Mickelson, who was forced to pull out of the Texas Open last weekend with a strained muscle in his side. He was also sidelined this year with back pain.

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