Tiger Woods formally withdrew from the 2017 Masters on Friday just as he had done in two of the three years before that. He has a back that he said is not “tournament-ready.”
Woods had previously noted that he was doing everything in his power to prep a back that has not allowed him to play in a professional tournament since the beginning of February. So just how bad is it for someone like Woods who has always put an extra emphasis on the majors and the Masters specifically?
Behind the scenes, the reports I’ve heard are not very good. And that was confirmed on Friday by Golf World. Woods sounds like he’s either barely able to get warmed up with the driver or that he’s able to tell early on that he won’t be able to get a solid workout in and doesn’t want to injure his back further. This is speculation of course, but the pieces of the puzzle fit.
What may be surprising is that Woods did attempt to test his game in two practice sessions at Medalist Golf Club near his Jupiter Island, Fla., home. In addition to training and working on his wedge game hitting shorter clubs at home since prior to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods did attempt to test out his driver swing in his first two practice sessions at Medalist.
According to sources who spoke with Golf World’s Tim Rosaforte, Woods appeared stiff and the second session on Thursday lasted in the five-minute range. Although dormant for eight weeks, Woods, according to agent Mark Steinberg, harbored legitimate hopes that he could return for the Masters.
That is, well, not a great harbinger for the future. A five-minute practice session? Yikes. Again, this doesn’t mean his back was hurting so badly that he couldn’t finish, but it does imply that Woods is not well enough to grind.
So another Masters will pass without Woods, and this one was supposed to be a big one for him. On a week when we were supposed to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of his first Masters victory, we instead will lament another major championship -- the fifth consecutive -- without Woods in attendance.
Tiger played at Augusta National for 19 straight years from 1995-2013.— Sean Martin (@PGATOURSMartin) April 1, 2017
He's now missed 3 of the past 4 Masters.