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Tiger Woods will miss the Masters Tournament for the first time

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014 12:20 PM
Last updated 11:18 PM
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Tiger Woods chose surgery to heal his ailing back over a quest for another green jacket, announcing Tuesday that he will miss the Masters Tournament for the first time in his career.

ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER/STAFF
“Tiger was gracious in keeping us updated of his condition and making us aware of his decision,” Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said. “We wholeheartedly offered our best wishes for his immediate and long-term recovery.”

Woods said on his Web site that he had surgery Monday in Utah for a pinched nerve that had been hurting him for several months, knowing the surgery would keep him from Augusta National Golf Club next week for the first time since he was a senior in high school.

The No. 1 player in the world is a four-time Masters champion.

“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.

“It’s a week that’s very special to me,” he said. “It also looks like I’ll be forced to miss several upcoming tournaments to focus on my rehabilitation and getting healthy.”

The Masters gets the highest television ratings of any golf tournament, and Woods commands most of the attention, even though he last won a green jacket in 2005. He won his first Masters in 1997 when he set 20 records, from youngest Masters champion at 21 to his 12-shot margin of victory.

“I know Tiger has been working very hard to return to form, and as I have said many times, Tiger has a lot of years of good golf ahead of him,” Jack Nicklaus said. “I hate to see him robbed of some of that time by injury. But we all know he is doing what is in the best interest of his health and future. I wish him well on a speedy recovery.”

Nicklaus played 154 consecutive majors for which he was eligible until he missed the 1998 British Open because of an ailing left hip that he had replaced a year later. Nicklaus rarely had injury problems in compiling 18 professional majors, the record that Woods wants. Woods has been stuck on 14 majors for six years.

Woods has had four surgeries on his left knee, and now his biggest concern is his back.

He has been coping with back issues since last summer: a twinge in the final round of the PGA Championship and spasms in the final round of The Barclays that caused him to fall to his knees. Then, they returned with alarming regularity recently in Florida.

He withdrew after 13 holes in the final round of the Honda Classic with what he described as lower back pain and spasms. Woods shot the highest final round of his career at Doral a week later when he said his back flared up again in the final round.

He skipped the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he was the two-time defending champion, to rest his back and do everything possible to be at Augusta National next week.

“Tiger was gracious in keeping us updated of his condition and making us aware of his decision,” Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said. “We wholeheartedly offered our best wishes for his immediate and long-term recovery.”

Woods said he had a microdiscectomy for the pinched nerve, performed by neurosurgeon Charles Rich.

A microdiscectomy is a type of minimally invasive spine surgery to relieve pressure and pain caused by a herniated disc. Operating through a small incision in the lower back, surgeons remove small disc fragments that are pressing against spinal nerves.

Recovery can take several weeks and doctors typically advise against bending and twisting the back until patients are completely healed

“This is frustrating,” Woods said. “But it’s something my doctors advised me to do for my immediate and long-term health.”

His Web site said repeating the motion of a golf swing can cause problems with a pinched nerve, and that the injury could have become worse if he had continued to play. Woods said he hopes to return to golf this summer, though he could not say when. It’s possible he could at least start chipping and putting in three weeks.

He will have to wait until the U.S. Open – maybe longer – to resume his quest to match Nicklaus in the majors. Woods won his 14th major at the 2008 U.S. Open on a badly injured left leg that required season-ending surgery two days after his playoff win at Torrey Pines.

He has not won another major since then.

This would have been the 20th consecutive Masters for Woods, dating to 1995 when he tied for 41st as the U.S. Amateur champion. He missed the British Open and PGA Championship in 2008 after knee surgery, and the U.S. Open and British Open in 2011 to heal more injuries in his left leg.

But he never missed the Masters, even after the scandal in his personal life at the end of 2009.

Woods had been out of golf for nearly five months dealing with a car crash into a fire hydrant, revelations of multiple extramarital affairs and 45 days in a Mississippi clinic when he returned to Augusta National under intense scrutiny. He tied for fourth.

Even though he hasn’t won the Masters in nine years, he had only finished out of the top 10 one time, in 2012.

Woods has 79 career wins on the PGA Tour, three short of the record held by Sam Snead. He already was off to the worst start of his career.

“It’s tough right now, but I’m absolutely optimistic about the future,” Woods said. “There are a couple (of) 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.”

Comments (15) Add comment
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internationallyunknown
4374
Points
internationallyunknown 04/01/14 - 12:39 pm
3
1
The world's No. 1 player

When Wood's play the Augusta National, he commands the crowds. He has a crowd about 3 times the size of any other golfer. He is loved at the Augusta National.

Let's see what type of impact this has on the tournament this year.

Everybody needs a break every now and then.

justthefacts
22674
Points
justthefacts 04/01/14 - 01:17 pm
6
2
Impact??

No impact at all. It's a shame he won't be there. Same with Phil if he can't play either. But the tournament will carry on just as always. Someone will win. Hopefully one of the UGA boys!!

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 04/01/14 - 01:54 pm
6
1
Agree with justthefacts.

Agree with justthefacts. Although Tiger is an excellent golfer and has a large fan base, the Master's Tournament will go on.

internationallyunknown
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internationallyunknown 04/01/14 - 02:57 pm
0
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"Let's see what type of

"Let's see what type of impact this has on the tournament this year."

Ok, see you at the National!

edcushman
7930
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edcushman 04/01/14 - 03:03 pm
5
5
"He has a crowd about 3 times
Unpublished

"He has a crowd about 3 times the size of any other golfer."
I doubt that his crowd is 3 times as big as Mickelson's but I do know his crowd is 10 times ruder than any other crowd. They have NO respect for the other golfers. I'm surprised the Masters has not done something about them. They HAVE no class at all.

justthefacts
22674
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justthefacts 04/01/14 - 03:29 pm
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2
edcushman

ed, that's a pretty big indictment on a large number of people. I imagine some have no class, just like some of Phil's.

internationallyunknown
4374
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internationallyunknown 04/01/14 - 03:45 pm
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ed, have you ever attended a

ed, have you ever attended a tournament?

edcushman
7930
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edcushman 04/01/14 - 05:03 pm
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5
internationallyunknown, I
Unpublished

internationallyunknown, I have been too MANY Masters tournaments. I have also work as a Security Guard and that is when I really saw what was going on. While Tiger is pretty rude himself I do not blame the actions of his fans on him. Many of his fans are not golfers they are young ignorant pop fans.

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 04/01/14 - 05:10 pm
4
1
"ed, that's a pretty big
Unpublished

"ed, that's a pretty big indictment on a large number of people."
You are correct I should have said some of his fans. Most of his fans are courteous but 15 to 25% are rude and ignorant. You are correct I should been clearer.

corgimom
33859
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corgimom 04/01/14 - 05:12 pm
6
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The Masters was there before

The Masters was there before Tiger Woods, it'll be there after Tiger Woods.

Nobody is indispensable.

Play, don't play, who cares?

internationallyunknown
4374
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internationallyunknown 04/01/14 - 05:23 pm
3
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"Many of his fans are not

"Many of his fans are not golfers they are young ignorant pop fans."

At the Augusta National Golf Club???

Pop fans...???

The Augusta National Golf Club has RUDE FANS??? We must have attended two totally different tournaments, over the years.

edcushman
7930
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edcushman 04/01/14 - 05:35 pm
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"Pop fans...???" 'Pop fans',
Unpublished

"Pop fans...???"
'Pop fans', star worshipers, the folks that love the movie stars.

edcushman
7930
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edcushman 04/01/14 - 06:37 pm
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"The Augusta National Golf
Unpublished

"The Augusta National Golf Club has RUDE FANS???"
Perhaps we have different ideas of what is "rude fans". It is rude to push other spectators to get closer to Tiger. It is rude to start running after Tiger has hit before his playing partner has hit. These are just a couple of things. I wondered why Tiger did not sign autographs but after working as a security guard at the Masters I knew.

YeCats
11220
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YeCats 04/01/14 - 06:21 pm
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2
For me, the tournament

will be less with out him. That's why its called "The Masters".

Here's to a complete recovery and good health, Tiger.

seenitB4
90557
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seenitB4 04/01/14 - 06:34 pm
4
1
Tiger is a fantastic golfer

He brings energy & fun to the match...I like to watch him BUT the others will pick up the slack...just wish by some fluke that Couples would win this year...or some Ga golfer.

edcushman
7930
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edcushman 04/01/14 - 06:40 pm
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1
"For me, the tournament will
Unpublished

"For me, the tournament
will be less with out him. That's why its called "The Masters".
Here's to a complete recovery and good health, Tiger"
YeCats, I agree with both statements.

rmwhitley
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rmwhitley 04/01/14 - 06:48 pm
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My heart is
Unpublished

broken for tiger! I wonder how much this will affect his girlfriendS.

itsanotherday1
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itsanotherday1 04/01/14 - 08:19 pm
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Boo hoo. I won't miss the

Boo hoo. I won't miss the course antics one bit; though I will miss some the shots he pulls off.

ColCo
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ColCo 04/02/14 - 05:50 am
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Ticket prices

Will be interesting to see if ticket prices drop. Will also be interesting to see if Tiger changes his swing to protect his back.

internationallyunknown
4374
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internationallyunknown 04/02/14 - 08:41 am
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^

I agree. The ticket prices WILL drop.
I've received an autograph from Tiger...and a photo...how rude!

edcushman
7930
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edcushman 04/02/14 - 09:02 am
2
0
"I've received an autograph
Unpublished

"I've received an autograph from Tiger...and a photo...how rude!"
I am not saying you did not get one but I have NEVER seen Tiger sign an autograph. The cops push people to the side when they try. I have met many athletes and several stars including James Brown and I have never ask one for an autograph. I was never star struck.

edcushman
7930
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edcushman 04/02/14 - 09:18 am
1
0
"I've received an autograph
Unpublished

"I've received an autograph from Tiger...and a photo...how rude!"
It was interesting when I met the Godfather. I was flying from AGS to ATL. I was in 1A and JB was in 1B. We began a conservation and he mention that he was born near Barnwell SC. I told him my grandmother grew up in that area. JB said, "hell boy we might be kin". I laughed and said "we might be".
He ask for my business card and said he was going to invite me to his Christmas but I never got the invite.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 04/02/14 - 09:21 am
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Tickets

Still going for $3K.

itsanotherday1
45229
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itsanotherday1 04/02/14 - 03:44 pm
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Autographs

I have one from Rowdy Yates and Wishbone from 1964. Mom took me to a rodeo in Montgomery, Ala.; and they were guest "stars". Like edcushman, I'm not "star-struck". They put their drawers on one leg at the time just like I do.

edcushman
7930
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edcushman 04/02/14 - 04:38 pm
1
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"Like edcushman, I'm not
Unpublished

"Like edcushman, I'm not "star-struck"."
itisanother1, one interesting star I met in the mid 90s was Joe Cocker, ole Joe looked like he had been rode hard and put up wet. We were flying from Toronto to ATL with a 45 min. stopover in Pittsburg. Joe was drinking rum and diet coke, yuck, and I was drinking Crown on the rocks, of course we were in 1st class. Joe told me some interesting stories about his years on the road. Ray Charles was Joe's mentor which I did not know.

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