Tiger Woods: Pinched nerve causes world number one to withdraw from 2014 Masters

The American will miss the Augusta tournament for the first time in his career

A pinched nerve in the back, how many employers have heard that tale on a Monday morning? Nevertheless that is the condition that has forced the withdrawal of Tiger Woods from next week's Masters, the first time in his career he has missed America's blue riband golf event.

An operation, scaled down to a procedure in his website, was seen as the only option after rest and treatment failed to deliver Woods to the start line at the season's first major.

Inevitably his absence invites speculation about his prospects of adding to his tally of 14 major victories in pursuit of the record 18 claimed by Jack Nicklaus. Not that he sees it that way.

“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 [Snead] and Jack [Nicklaus] reached their milestones over an entire career. I plan to have a lot of years left in mine.”

Snead captured a monumental 82 PGA Tour titles. Woods has 79, five of which came in a blistering 2013 that saw him resume the world No 1 ranking. A first major since his US Open victory in 2008 eluded him but the idea that a major was within his grasp gathered force.

That impetus has gone. At 38 he is more vulnerable to just this kind of repetitive strain injury. The flaring of back trouble that first dogged him during the Fed-Ex Series last September reared up at the Honda Classic, forcing his withdrawal after 13 holes on the final day.

A view of the scene at Augusta A view of the scene at Augusta  

He was again in trouble a week later at the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral, posting a final round 78 to equal the highest score of his professional career. Having pulled out of the defence of his Arnold Palmer Invitational title at Bay Hill, he decided medical intervention was the best solution.

“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.

“It also looks like I'll be forced to miss several upcoming tournaments to focus on my rehabilitation and getting healthy. It is frustrating, but it's something my doctors advised me to do for my immediate and long-term health.”

His withdrawal completes an unwanted grand slam of major withdrawals. Woods' first target is the defence of the Players Championship, the richest tournament in the world, at Sawgrass next month, followed by the US Open at Pinehurst in June.

The Open Championship triggers the busiest stretch of the season, leading into the WGC Bridgestone and the US PGA Championship within three weeks, the Fed-Ex Play-Offs and finally the Ryder Cup in Scotland at the end of September.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m