Tiger Woods finally makes it official: No Masters
By Stephanie Wei under The Masters

Tiger Woods

Talk about the Friday evening news dump! And at 5pm PACIFIC TIME, no less! A bunch of golf/sportswriters just dropped everything (like a bunch of f-bombs) and ran to the closest computer to type up the same story everybody else will write.

Tiger Woods reports on his website that he will not play in next week’s Masters, making it the second time in three years that he’ll miss the first major of the year. 

“After assessing the present condition of my back, and consulting with my medical team, I’ve decided it’s prudent to miss this year’s Masters.

“I’ve been hitting balls and training daily, but I’m not physically ready. I’ve said all along that this time I need to be cautious and do what’s best for my long-term health and career. Unfortunately, playing Augusta next week wouldn’t be the right decision. I’m absolutely making progress, and I’m really happy with how far I’ve come, but I still have no timetable to return to competitive golf.

“I’d like to express my disappointment to Billy Payne, the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I won’t be competing. It’s a very important and special week to me, and it’s upsetting to miss it. I do plan to attend the Champions Dinner and see a lot of old friends.

“I’d like to thank the fans for their concern and support. The last few years have been difficult, but I have the best fans anywhere, and I want them to know that.”

I’m glad that he’s thinking about his long-term health. That’s important and underrated, not to mention very difficult to do for type-A, crazy-competitive types. And, well, at least those semi-delusional people who thought there was a chance Woods would tee it up can now simmer down.

Woods, of course, is recovering from a microdiscectomy to his back last fall. He’s had three similar procedures in the last two years. He’s admitted that he tried to come back too soon from the first one in March 2014.

It’s also another sign that the 40-year-old golfer will likely never regain dominance in his sport again.

The news that Tiger is missing the Masters absolutely does not shock me whatsoever. What would have surprised me is if he’d said he WAS playing. Because, as he points out himself, I don’t think it’d be a very wise move at this point in his rehab (not that I or anyone really knows what his exact condition is). I mean, I was pretty certain it wasn’t going to happen after he posted that video of him swinging a 9-iron oh-so-gingerly into a simulator.

Of course it’ll be disappointing that Woods won’t be in yet another Masters, but it’s for the best. It wouldn’t be fair to him, Augusta, the tournament and the fans for him to show up, create a frenzied circus and then play really horrible golf and limp off the course.

Luckily, as you’re continuously reminded, we have a trio or quadruplet of young stars to fill the void!