Tiger Woods will miss next week’s Players Championship, as the wait for the 15-time major champion to return to the golf course continues to generate concern.
Woods had until 5 p.m. Friday to commit to next week’s event at TPC Sawgrass and his agent Mark Steinberg made the announcement, telling ESPN "Back just not ready. Not concerning long term, just not ready.''
The Players will mark the fourth straight event Tiger has chosen to sit out as he deals with a stiff back. The last event Woods played in was the Genesis Invitational on February 16 where he finished in last place. Woods admitted he’d had a tough time getting his back loose during the event at Riviera due to the cool temperatures, saying, "I feel stiff, but I have weeks like that.”
The 82-time PGA Tour champion had skipped the WGC Mexico Championship, Honda Classic and this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational but choosing not to play the Players, which some consider a fifth major, has drawn a high level of concern.
Whether or not Woods will be ready to defend his title at the Masters is becoming worrisome. Following the Players, just three weeks remain until Augusta with the Valspar, WGC-Dell Match Play and the Valero Texas Open the only remaining events prior to the Masters.
After a demanding 2019 season, Woods said he would likely be playing less this season. No one, however, envisioned that with a month until golf’s first major of the year, he would have played in just two events so far this year.