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Golf | US PGA Tour

Woods to miss two Masters build-ups



Tiger Woods will miss planned US PGA Tour starts the next two weeks with ongoing back spasms, which forced him out last week in Dubai and have him questionable for the Masters.

The 14-time major winner, trying to rebuild his career after back surgery that benched him for more than a year, pulled out of next week's Genesis Open at Riviera and the following week's Honda Classic near his South Florida home.

"My doctors have advised me not to play for the next two weeks, to continue my treatment and to let my back calm down," Woods said on his website.

"This is not what I was hoping for or expecting."

The statement on his website said a "possible playing schedule" for Woods in March and beyond would be determined after his back has been reassessed, with time ticking as the Masters, the year's first major tournament, looms April 6-9 at Augusta National.

The 41-year-old American, who has not taken a major title since the 2008 US Open and last won any event at the 2013 World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational, has 79 career PGA triumphs, three shy of Sam Snead's all-time record.

But Woods, a former world No 1 who has slid to 674th in the rankings, has struggled since making a December return from a 16-month layoff following back surgeries in September and October of 2015.

The man who once strode above the sport pulled out of the Dubai Desert Classic last week with back spasms after a birdie-free first-round 77 left him 13 shots off the lead.

Woods had missed the cut a week earlier, a once unthinkable scenario, at his first US PGA event of the year at Torrey Pines, a course where he has won eight titles.

"The whole plan was to get my body, mind and spirit ready for that first full week in April," Woods said last week.

"You know, I've done it (won at Augusta) four times and I'd love to do it a fifth."

Lacking a ranking high enough to play in WGC events next month in Mexico City and Austin, Texas, there are four PGA events in which Woods could prepare for the Masters, but the only one in his usual rotation is the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, set for March 16-19.

Others would be the Valspar Championship near Tampa the week before Bay Hill, the Puerto Rico Open the week after Bay Hill and the Houston Open the week before the Masters, a week Woods usually skips tournaments in favour of practice.

Woods tweeted that he will appear at Riviera next week, saying, "Really looking forward to seeing everyone at genesis open next week, unfortunately I won't be able to play."

Woods said he was "extremely disappointed" to miss the Genesis Open, which benefits his charity foundation, and the Honda Classic.



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