Only two days after captain Tom Watson left it completely up to Tiger Woods to determine whether he is fit enough to play for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, Woods announced that he is not. He told the PGA of America Wednesday that he is withdrawing as a candidate for one of the three captain's picks.
"I have already spoken to Tom about the Ryder Cup and while I greatly appreciate him thinking about me for a possible captain's pick, I took myself out of consideration. I've been told by my doctors and trainer that my back muscles need to be rehabilitated and healed. They've advised me not to play or practice now," Woods said in a statement.
"I'm extremely disappointed that I won't be ready for the competition. The U.S. team and the Ryder Cup mean too much to me not to be able to give it my best," he said, adding that he will return to competition Dec. 1 at his World Challenge Tournament in Florida.
Watson had said on Monday that Woods, if he was healthy and playing well, would be one of the three captain's picks for the team, which will play Europe at Gleneagles in Scotland next month. Watson said it would depend on Woods' judgment about his own readiness. When he was asked if he could trust Woods, Watson said, "Absolutely."
Woods has played in four tournaments since returning from the late March microdiscectomy and has missed the cut twice, withdrawn once and finished way out of the running the other time. Two weeks ago, he developed a new back problem that clearly bothered him as he missed the cut at the PGA Championship last week.
The captain, who will announce his three picks in New York City on Sept. 2, complimented Woods on taking the "high road" by announcing the withdrawal so early.
"My primary wish is for Tiger to be healthy and competitive," Watson said in his own statement, "and I hope that he'll return to the game very soon."