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article imageTiger Woods to miss 2016 Masters Tournament

By Lucky Malicay     Apr 2, 2016 in Sports
Tiger Woods is skipping next week’s 2016 Masters Tournament, ending months of speculation about whether the former world number one will return to the competition starting at the Augusta National.
"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,” Woods said in a statement on his official website.
"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.”
Woods last saw action on the PGA Tour in August 2015 when he finished tied for 18th at the Quicken Loans National. He earlier missed the cut at the U.S. Open and at the Open Championship.
The absence will be Woods’ second at the Masters since turning professional in 1996. He first won the tournament in 1997 via a record-breaking fashion. His other Masters victories came in 2001, 2002 and 2005.
But Woods, winner of 14 Major titles, may be closer to a return to the tour.
“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,” said Woods, who also missed the Masters in 2014 following a microdiscectomy.
“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.”
Woods, who won his last Major in 2008, thanked his fans for their support, saying the “last few years have been difficult, but I have the best fans anywhere, and I want them to know that."
Woods withdrew from the tour in August due to health problems that had been affecting his performance and underwent a series of back operations.
Last month, Woods announced that he was starting to feel better, saying “I have been chipping and putting at home, and recently started hitting 9 irons.” But he set no timetable on his return to the competition.
Meanwhile, new world number one Jason Day has been tipped to win the Masters, which will kick off April 7 in Augusta in Atlanta.
The Australian is confident of winning the first major of the year following his two recent victories that regained his status as the top player on the tour.
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