Normally, the No. 17-ranked golfer in the world pulling out of the British Open isn’t earth-shaking news.
Unless, of course, that golfer happens to be Tiger Woods.
The winner of 14 majors – four shy of Jack Nicklaus’ record – Woods revealed in a statement Tuesday that he would have to sit out next week’s event at Royal St George's in Sandwich, England.
The 35-year-old Woods, still seeking his first major title since 2008 — or any tournament win since 2009 — cited an injured knee and Achilles tendon, aggravated during this year’s Players Championship, as the major factors in his decision to withdraw.
"Unfortunately, I've been advised that I should not play in the British Open," Woods said. "As I stated at the AT&T National [last month], I am only going to come back when I'm 100 percent ready. I do not want to risk further injury.”
Idle since playing half a round at the Players in Florida two months ago, Woods isn’t just chasing Nicklaus anymore. He’s pursuing his former self.
Tainted by a well-chronicled adultery scandal that ended his marriage and stripped him of millions in endorsements, the former world No. 1 could be facing an early twilight to a career that many felt would see him emerge as the greatest golfer ever.
Like most prolific athletes confronting the end of their halcyon days, Woods isn’t buying into his own decline just yet.
"I think my best years are still ahead of me," noted Woods, whose next shot at a major could come in August at the PGA Championship in Johns Creek, Ga.
"I'm very confident and optimistic about the future."