Tiger Woods will not play in the British Open next week, he announced on his website Tuesday, a week after he asserted that he will not return to golf until his knee and Achilles are completely healed.
Woods personally called Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the R&A, which runs the Open. Golf's oldest major will begin a week from Thursday at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England, where Ben Curtis won in 2003. Woods has not played since withdrawing from the Players in May, citing pain from injuries he suffered while hitting off pine straw at the Masters.
On tigerwoods.com, the three-time British Open champion on Tuesday said: "Unfortunately, I've been advised that I should not play in the British Open. As I stated at the AT&T National, I am only going to come back when I'm 100 percent ready. I do not want to risk further injury. That's different for me, but I'm being smarter this time. I'm very disappointed and want to express my regrets to British Open fans."
Dawson said in a statement: "I know how disappointed Tiger is not to be able to play in the Open this year. Naturally, we are sorry that a player of his caliber isn't able to join us at Royal St. George's, but we wish him well in his recovery and hope to see him back soon, competing in front of the fans that love to see him play . . . "
Woods' spot in the field will be taken by Jason Dufner, who tied for fifth in the 2010 PGA Championship, two shots out of the playoff involving Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson and one stroke behind Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson. As a draw for television viewers, of course, Woods has proved irreplaceable.
He will have missed two majors in a row, the same as he did in 2008 after knee surgery. Since he turned pro in 1996, Woods never has been absent for three in a row. That would leave the PGA Championship, at Atlanta Athletic Club on Aug. 11-14, as his last shot at a major this year.
At the AT&T last week, he said that his doctors are not talking about surgery. He added that he would be surprised if he does not play again in 2011. But nothing is certain. Dr. Ronald Grelsamer, an expert in orthopedic surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan, said, "He is not my patient, but I would suspect there is an underlying condition that is not related to golf." Grelsamer added, "I wouldn't be surprised" if Woods took the rest of the year off.
Masters adds Player
Gary Player formed part of golf's Big Three in the 1960s, along with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. The Masters announced that Player will join Palmer and Nicklaus as honorary starters for the 2012 tournament.