Tiger Woods won’t play in the Masters for the third time in the last four years, announcing Friday night on his website that rehabilitation on his back didn’t allow him enough time to prepare.
“I did about everything I could to play, but my back rehabilitation didn’t allow me the time to get tournament ready,” Woods said on his website.
He still plans to be at Augusta National, but only for dinner with past Masters champions on Tuesday night, just like last year. Augusta National checked on Woods’ status Thursday before sending out its press conference schedule for Masters week. Woods did not know if he could play, so the club held onto his 1 p.m. Tuesday spot just in case.
Woods missed the Masters for the first time in 2014 because of the first of what would be three surgeries on his back. He played in 2015 despite taking off two months with chipping problems, and he tied for 17th. He missed the cut in the other three majors that year, had two more back surgeries and missed 15 months of competition to let it heal.
But after an upbeat return in the Bahamas at his unofficial Hero World Challenge, Woods curiously signed up for four tournaments in a five-week stretch, including going to Dubai. He missed the cut at Torrey Pines, a place where he has won eight times as a pro. And after a 77 in easy conditions at Dubai in early February, he withdrew the next day, citing back spasms.
Woods also cited back spasms for withdrawing from his own tournament at Riviera — he even withdrew from a press conference at the Genesis Open, which supports his foundation