Agent denies report stating Tiger Woods is doubtful for 2017 Masters due to back

Will Tiger Woods play the 2017 Masters? The truth is that nobody really knows. Woods has until Thursday of Masters week to decide. That’s 20 days of pontificating.

What we do know is that Woods is not ready to declare himself out for the event as his agent, Mark Steinberg, was emphatic that a Friday report calling Woods doubtful for the Masters was false.

Brian Wacker of Golf World, citing sources, reported that it’s unlikely Woods plays as he is still nursing the back spasms (if that’s what we’re calling them) he suffered at the Dubai Desert Classic in February.

According to multiple sources, Woods has not been able to play or practice since withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic last month because of back spasms. Woods’ agent did not respond to an email seeking an update on his condition and schedule, but one source close to the situation near Woods’ home in Jupiter, Fla., said, “I would be shocked if he plays anytime soon.”

Steinberg, in a statement released to Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte, strongly denied that report.

“I have no idea who Mr. Wacker’s really close sources are. I can tell you this, nobody spoke to him (Wacker); so how he could know something that Tiger and I don’t know is comical,” Steinberg said. “I talked to Tiger four hours ago on the phone. We’re not in a situation to even talk about playing in the Masters now. He’s gotten treatments and is progressing and hoping he can do it. There’s not been a decision one way or the other. I couldn’t give you a fair assessment, but to say it’s doubtful is an absolutely inaccurate statement.”

Drawing only from what I’ve heard behind the scenes, it does sound like the most likely scenario in April is that Woods not playing the Masters. He has not played competitively, if he’s even played at all, since the beginning of February.

Woods skipped the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week -- where he’s won eight times -- and would have essentially no competitive rounds under his belt for two straight months if he chose to play the Masters.

That doesn’t sound like something Tiger would do, although he’s done it before. Woods took two months off in 2015 when he had the chipping yips, showed up to Augusta and finished in the top 20.

Will that happen again with him struggling with a bum back? I doubt it, but the No. 1 rule when it comes to Tiger Woods is that you never call anything impossible.

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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