The 2016 Masters is just days away and excitement is beginning to mount in Augusta. The 2016 Masters will take place from April 7th to 10th and is the 80th Masters Tournament as well as the first Major of 2016. Some bad news broke only hours ago for Tiger Woods fans when he announced that he would not be competing in this year’s tournament. Woods has not competed professionally since the Wyndham Championship last August, just a month before he underwent a second micro-discectomy as well as another follow-up procedure to alleviate the pain in his back. However, Woods plans on being present at the Champions Dinner. In a statement released by Woods himself he explained why he felt he could not compete in the prestigious tournament this 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.”
Golf fans are curious to see if the fourteen-time Major winner can recover from this ongoing injury to compete and win tournaments once more. In March of this year, Woods posted an update on his official website stating he was “chipping, putting and hitting 9-irons at home”. Although Woods offered no definite date of return, this of course provided fans and critics alike with the hope that he would be ready to make his return in Augusta.
This latest announcement however has disappointed fans with this being the second time in three years that Woods has missed the Masters tournament. It seems now that his future is more unclear than ever with some speculating that he may never return to play professionally.
A look back at Woods’ successful career
Woods has enjoyed one of the most successful careers of all time in the professional golfing world. Within the first year of him turning professional he had won his very first major – the Masters tournament in 1997. A few months later, he claimed the world number one spot, no mean feat for someone in their first year as a professional golfer.
During the 2000’s, Woods was a dominant force to be reckoned with in the golfing world and he spent many periods during that time at World number one.
Woods has won 14 Majors over the course of his career thus far. He has worn that famous green jacket four times, winning the Masters in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005.
Woods has won the US Open a total of three times in the years 2000, 2002 and 2008. He has won the Open Championship three times in total in 2000, 2005 and 2006 and finally the PGA Championship four times in the years 1999, 2000, 2006 and 2007.
As well as the impressive number of majors won by Woods he also won many more tournaments and picked up numerous awards throughout his career. Being one of the biggest names in the golfing world, Woods has been featured in the Forbes list of highest paid athletes in the world for many years now.
The Masters without Tiger
There is no doubt that the world of golf is in capable hands with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth. However, there is no denying that with Tiger Woods on the course at Augusta, the vibe will be completely different than when Woods takes part. Woods is a massive draw for fans, media and players alike with him being respected by all.
Rory McIlroy will be hoping to follow in Woods’ footsteps next weekend and complete his career Grand Slam. If he does, he would join Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen and become only the sixth player in history to win all four majors.
What next for Tiger Woods?
Woods’ only real hope at winning another major is if he is blessed with a prolonged period of good health. Although there was much disappointment when he made the announcement about missing the Masters this year, Woods is being sure to give himself the best possible chance of returning to where he needs to be even if that means missing some high profile events along the way.
Woods next chance at winning a major title will come in June when the US Open will be played at Oakmount Country Club, Pennsylvania. Whatever the future holds for Woods, we wish him the best of luck and hope to see him back on the course perhaps even winning some tournaments before long.