Tiger Woods' troublesome back has cost him another major, as the 14-time major winner will miss the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. It's just the second time in his career he has missed the prestigious tournament, and the first time since 2011.
Woods released a statement on his official website, per Mark Soltau of TigerWoods.com:
Unfortunately, I won't be there because I'm not yet physically able to play competitive golf. I'd like to convey my regrets to the USGA leadership, the volunteers and the fans that I won't be at Pinehurst. The U.S. Open is very important to me, and I know it's going to be a great week. Despite missing the first two majors, and several other important tournaments, I remain very optimistic about this year and my future.
Jason Sobel of GolfChannel.com thought that while the news didn't come as a major surprise, it was unfortunate all the same, especially considering how Woods' performances at Pinehurst in the past made him a viable threat this year:
Tiger Woods will officially not play in the U.S. Open. That's breaking news if you haven't been paying attention for the last few months.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) May 28, 2014
Latest news on Tiger expected, but still disappointing for him. Was third at Pinehurst in '99; second in '05. Trending in right direction.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) May 28, 2014
Back in April, Woods announced that he would be forced to miss the Masters after undergoing back surgery weeks before the season's first major was set to tee off. Since then, he's failed to appear at a PGA event, so few expected him to be making the trip to North Carolina in June.
This is also part of a bigger problem for Woods in terms of his health. Once a mainstay on the major scene, he's only appeared in 18 of the last 24 tournaments, per Sobel:
Since his last major title at the 2008 U.S. Open, Tiger Woods has now missed six of the 24 majors that have been contested.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) May 28, 2014
Woods' withdrawal from the U.S. Open will further spark discussion as to whether he can catch Jack Nicklaus for the all-time lead in major tournament wins. As Sobel mentioned, he's been stuck on 14 since his victory at the 2008 U.S. Open.
The likelihood of him catching the Golden Bear's tally of 18 looks slimmer and slimmer with each year and each new ailment.
Plenty of golf fans have wondered if the old Tiger Woods might make a late-career comeback. At this point, though, the question is merely when Woods might be back at all.