Tiger Woods taking a leave of absence
By Stephanie Wei under Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods is taking an indefinite leave from golf, according to an announcement on his website TigerWoods.com on Wednesday. He says that his current back injury is unrelated to the one he endured surgery for last year, and he’s having physical therapy daily and feeling better.

However, Woods was frustrated with the past couple of weeks.

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.

Woods opened up his 2015 season at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and missed the cut after posting scores of 73-82. However, he said his back was feeling 100% in Scottsdale. The following week at the Farmers Insurance Open, Woods withdrew after playing 12 holes at Torrey Pines when his back tightened up (or his glutes wouldn’t fire). It was the third time he had withdrawn due to injury in his last nine starts.

Woods added that the current state of his game is not acceptable for tournament golf.

Right now, I need a lot of work on my game, and to still spend time with the people that are important to me. 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. 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. 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.

So, what does this cryptic statement mean? Well, according to Golf Channel’s Notah Begay, Woods will be traveling to Vail to watch his girlfriend Lindsey Vonn compete on Thursday.

When will we see Woods tee it up in competition again? Well it doesn’t sound like he’s leaving the Honda Classic — which is in two weeks — off the table. The week following that is the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, which he’s not qualified for because of his drastic drop in the Official World Golf Rankings. Woods plummeted to no. 62 this week, the lowest he’s been ranked in 19 years.

Chances are we will see Tiger before the Masters, the first major of the season in April. For now, we can catch him rooting for his girlfriend on the ski slopes.