Tiger Woods to miss Masters after back surgery

Tiger Woods
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For the first time since 1994, Tiger Woods will miss the Masters.
By T.J. Auclair
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Tuesday, April 01, 2014 | 12:53 p.m.

Tiger Woods announced on Tuesday that he will not play in next week's Masters as he heals from "successful microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve that has been hurting him for several months," according to TigerWoods.com.

Woods sent out this tweet breaking the news:

Woods had played in every Masters since 1995.

READ: How to handle back pain on the golf course  |  Your favorite Masters moments

That streak will come to an end next week for the world's No. 1 ranked player and four-time Masters champion, who is still seeking his 15th major win.

The ailing back forced Woods's withdrawal from the final round of the Honda Classic in early March. His back was also an issue the following week at Doral, but he managed to finish the tournament. Woods then withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill before the event began, citing the back issues. He was the defending champion.

INJURY INVENTORY: See the complete list of all of Tiger Woods' injuries

Woods has played in the Masters every year since 1995, when he was the reigning U.S. Amateur champion. In 19 starts at Augusta National, Woods missed the cut just once (1996, when again, he was the reigning U.S. Amateur champion) and has finished in the top 10 on 13 occasions, including seven finishes in the top 3.

Woods has only missed four major championships in which he was eligible -- the 2008 Open Championship and PGA Championship (due to reconstructive knee surgery); and the 2011 U.S. Open and Open Championship due to issues with his left leg. This will be his fifth.

Here is the full statement from TigerWoods.com:

Tiger Woods announced Tuesday that he has undergone a successful microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve that has been hurting him for several months.

The surgery was performed Monday in Park City, Utah, by neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Rich.
The procedure was successful, but Woods will be unable to play in the Masters Tournament, instead requiring rest and rehabilitation for the next several weeks.

"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," Tiger added. "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."

Woods will begin intensive rehabilitation and soft-tissue treatment within a week. Healing and recovery times differ for each individual based on many physiological factors, but Woods could begin chipping and putting, after assessment by his doctors, in three weeks.

The goal is for Tiger to resume playing sometime this summer. The repetitive motion from golf can cause this injury, and Woods could have sustained further damage if he had continued to play. There should be no long-lasting effects from the surgery, and it should not impact the longevity of his career.

"It's tough right now, but I'm absolutely optimistic about the future," Woods said. "There are a couple 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."



Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.


T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.