Speculation grew over the last couple days that Tiger Woods just might be ready to play The Masters. Media noted he was listed on the press conference sheet for next Tuesday noon at Augusta National Golf Club. They also realized that the value of that in confirming his participation as a player was limited, at best.
The four-time Masters Champion (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005) confirmed on Friday evening that, in fact, he would be in attendance next week. But not as a player.
“Unfortunately, I won’t be competing in this year’s Masters,” read the first line of Tiger’s statement, providing the answer most had been waiting for. “I did about everything I could to play, but my back rehabilitation didn’t allow me the time to get tournament ready. I’m especially upset because it’s a special anniversary for me that’s filled with a lot of great memories. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since I won my first green jacket”
He also went further in a statement on his website, TigerWoods.com and conveyed that he has no schedule for when he will actually return to competition.
“I have no timetable for my return, but I will continue my diligent effort to recover, and want to get back out there as soon as possible.
“I’d like to pass along my regrets to Billy Payne, the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons, that I won’t be there. I will be at the Champions Dinner and I look forward to seeing a lot of old friends.
“Augusta National has been a very important place to me and my family for over 20 years, and while I’m disappointed, it will be good to be back there Tuesday.”
It has been two decades since Tiger won his first major championship. The 1997 Masters was the first of fourteen he has won to date.
Whether that statement can be altered to end: “THAT he won during his career”, remains to be seen.