Tiger Woods is taking another injury-induced leave of absence from the PGA Tour to work on his game, with the hopes of being tournament-ready soon.
The 14-time major champion and longtime top-ranked player in the world released a statement through his official website explaining the circumstances behind his latest hiatus:
The last two weeks have been very disappointing to me, especially Torrey, because I never want to withdraw. Unfortunately, lately injuries have made that happen too often.
This latest injury is not related to my previous surgery. I am having daily physical therapy and I am feeling better every day.
Right now, I need a lot of work on my game, and to still spend time with the people that are important to me. My play, and scores, are not acceptable for tournament golf. Like I've said, I enter a tournament to compete at the highest level, and when I think I'm ready, I'll be back. Next week I will practice at Medalist and at home getting ready for the rest of the year. I am committed to getting back to the pinnacle of my game. I'd like to play The Honda Classic—it's a tournament in my hometown and it's important to me—but I won't be there unless my game is tournament-ready. That's not fair to anyone. I do, however, expect to be playing again very soon.
I want to thank the fans in Phoenix and San Diego. They were amazing. I greatly appreciate everyone's support.
Woods, 39, at least got four competitive rounds in to start the 2014-15 season, finishing tied for 17th at the Hero World Challenge in December.
However, he carded a career-worst 82 in the second round of the Phoenix Open to miss the cut and then had to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open on Feb. 5 on the 12th hole due to a back injury. It's a tournament Woods has won seven times, held at the venue in Torrey Pines where he won his last major, the 2008 U.S. Open.
Will Gray of Golf Channel weighed in on Woods' statement:
Will Gray @WillGrayGC
Not much meat to the Tiger statement. If he still might make his next anticipated start (Honda), why even declare that he's taking a break?2015-2-11 23:28:48
The more time Woods spends away from competitive golf, the greater the doubts grow that he can regain his previous dominant form. He participated in just seven PGA Tour events last season, withdrawing twice and missing the cut in two.
What once seemed like a relative certainty that Woods would eclipse Jack Nicklaus' all-time mark of 18 major victories now appears almost impossible.
If anyone can rally and bounce back from this grueling test of mental fortitude, though, it's Woods.
Then again, Rory McIlroy is truly establishing himself as the No. 1 player in the world, while plenty of youngsters like Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and others are coming along. Time is running out for Woods to reassert himself as golf's main draw.
The hope is that Woods can recapture some magic during this break from competition and thrust himself back into consistent contention, which would still capture more attention from most casual golf fans than anyone from the game's promising youth movement.