Tiger Woods has announced he will take an indefinite break from golf as he bids to overcome his latest injury scare and poor form.
The 14-time major champion withdrew midway through his first round at last week's Farmers Insurance Open in California due to back pain although he has allayed fears over the setback.
Of more pressing concern for the 39-year-old is his recent struggles on the course, with his injury coming six days after recording the worst round of his career - an 11-over-par 82 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
“Right now, I need a lot of work on my game, and to still spend time with the people that are important to me,” Woods wrote in a statement on his official website.
“My play, and scores, are not acceptable for tournament golf. Like I've said, I enter a tournament to compete at the highest level, and when I think I'm ready, I'll be back.”
While Woods does not feel his game is yet up to scratch, he hopes to be ready to play The Honda Classic, which gets under way on 26 February.
“Next week I will practice at Medalist and at home getting ready for the rest of the year. I am committed to getting back to the pinnacle of my game,” he said.
“I'd like to play The Honda Classic - it's a tournament in my hometown and it's important to me - but I won't be there unless my game is tournament-ready. That's not fair to anyone.
“I do, however, expect to be playing again very soon.”
The American withdrew from last year's event in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, after 13 holes with back pain and would eventually have to undergo surgery in April on a pinched nerve which forced him to miss the Masters and the US Open.
Yet any thoughts that he has aggravated the problem were dismissed.
“The last two weeks have been very disappointing to me, especially Torrey, because I never want to withdraw. Unfortunately, lately injuries have made that happen too often,” he said.
“This latest injury is not related to my previous surgery. I am having daily physical therapy and I am feeling better every day.”
Since his return from last year's injury, Woods has struggled to recapture the form that saw him become one of the greatest players of all-time.
He finished 69th at the Open at Royal Liverpool in July, while a month later he missed just his fourth cut in 66 majors as a professional after suffering yet more back trouble at the US PGA Championship at Valhalla.
Tiger Woods through the years
Tiger Woods through the years
1/18 Tiger Woods
2/18 Tiger Woods
3/18 Tiger Woods
4/18 Tiger Woods
MATT CAMPBELL/AFP/Getty Images
5/18 Tiger Woods
6/18 Tiger Woods
7/18 Tiger Woods
8/18 Tiger Woods
9/18 Tiger Woods
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
10/18 Tiger Woods
KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images
11/18 Tiger Woods
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
12/18 Tiger Woods
13/18 Tiger Woods
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
14/18 Tiger Woods
David Cannon/Getty Images
15/18 Tiger Woods
16/18 Tiger Woods
ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
17/18 Tiger Woods
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
18/18 Tiger Woods
Dom Furore/Getty Images
Woods subsequently ruled himself out of consideration for a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September because of injury and later revealed he did not feel he could have won a point for the United States.
Woods made an underwhelming return to golf by shooting a five-over-par first round at the Hero World Challenge in December and it has gone from bad to worse in his first two tournaments of 2015.
His withdrawal on Thursday was the ninth of his career to date, and the third in his last eight. He has not won a PGA Tour event since 2013 and has failed to land a major since 2008.