In absolutely astonishing news, Tiger Woods will not be ready to compete in next month’s U.S. Open, as he is still rehabbing from the back surgery he endured at the end of March, according to TigerWoods.com:
“Unfortunately, I won’t be there because I’m not yet physically able to play competitive golf,” Woods said. “I’d like to convey my regrets to the USGA leadership, the volunteers and the fans that I won’t be at Pinehurst. The U.S. Open is very important to me, and I know it’s going to be a great week. Despite missing the first two majors, and several other important tournaments, I remain very optimistic about this year and my future.”
I just love it when TigerWoods.com breaks Tiger news!
Anyone surprised he’s not ready to play? Nope. After talking to medical experts and other players who have had similar procedures, it sounds like Woods will be out longer than we or he expect. I’ve been told for a “regular” person to get back to “normal” daily functions, it takes three months of rehabilitation, but there’s no telling the timetable for a high-level athlete of Tiger’s caliber (and then you have to consider on all the other scar tissue he’s dealt with from previous injuries).
This will mark the sixth major championship that Tiger has missed due to injuries. After winning the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2008 while playing basically on one leg, Woods sat out for the rest of the season, missing the Open Championship and the PGA Championship.
Then, in 2011 Woods was sidelined due to knee and Achilles injuries that forced him to miss four months of the season, causing him to skip the U.S. Open and the Open Championship.
The last time Tiger competed was the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on March 9. Woods fired a third-round 66 that put him back into contention, but subsequently, he was in obvious pain and distress, shooting a 78 the following day.
The Memorial Tournament, hosted by Jack Nicklaus, is usually on Tiger’s regular schedule, which he’s obviously missing this year. He called Nicklaus on Wednesday morning to apologize for his absence.
“He called me this morning, which is a very, very nice call, wishing me well in the tournament, sorry he couldn’t be here,” said Nicklaus in his press conference. “And he was saying that he felt bad about not being able to be here. He said he’s doing well, progressing well, and he’s looking forward to getting back into the game. He misses it.”
We all know Tiger has targeted Nicklaus’ career major record of 18. Currently, Woods is four shy of tying Jack, with 14 majors. Nicklaus believes the biggest deterrents to Woods catching him will be Tiger’s health and the increasing number of young talent, with the former being a larger deterrent.
“I think his biggest stumbling block probably is going to be his health, and I think his health is something that he thinks he’s doing very well with,” said Nicklaus of Tiger. “If he’s healthy, I think Tiger’s got 10 plus years to play top-quality tournament golf.
“And certainly, and I’ve said many times, he’s got a little over 40 tournaments to play the major championships, he’s only got to win five to pass my record. As good a player as he is, I don’t think that should be a big deal.
“But, then again, he’s gotta do it plus he’s also got to be healthy to be able to do it. And you’re right, the last part is a factor. I mean, the first time that Tiger ever lost a tournament coming down the stretch was against Y.E. Yang where he was leading and came down. It was the first time somebody challenged him and actually beat him.
“He will probably have more of those challenges because of the more young players coming along. But that’s part of the game, and I think he expects that.”
There’s no timetable for Woods’ return from recuperating from his most recent surgery — at least not that’s known publicly.