Tiger Woods: What His U.S. Open Withdrawal Means

David KindervaterCorrespondent IJune 7, 2011

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 10:  Tiger Woods hits a shot during a practice round prior to the start of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2011 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Tiger Woods announced today that he will not be playing in the U.S. Open next week at Congressional Country Club.

Citing lingering leg injuries suffered during The Masters Tournament two months ago, Woods was forced to make the difficult decision, one he announced publicly on his official website and Twitter.

"I am extremely disappointed that I won't be playing in the U.S. Open, but it's time for me to listen to my doctors and focus on the future," Woods said.

"I was hopeful that I could play, but if I did, I risk further damage to my left leg. My knee and Achilles tendon are not fully healed. I hope to be ready for AT&T National, the next two majors and the rest of the year."

Needless to say, this news comes as a tremendous disappointment to golf fans, especially considering the high level of excitement Woods brings to any tournament he is a part of, especially a major.

But it's the right decision.

In fact, for Woods to target the AT&T National for his return in just a few weeks seems like a bold prediction, given his current health status. 

Nevertheless, a U.S. Open appearance would likely have been a debacle.

Not only would he have exacerbated his leg injuries, but there was little chance he would've fared well, having only played nine holes of competitive golf since April 10.

"It's been a frustrating and difficult year, but I'm committed to my long-term health," Woods continued in his statement today. "I want to thank the fans for their encouragement and support. I am truly grateful and will be back playing when I can."

Today's news is yet another bump in the long road of Tiger Woods' seemingly endless comeback trail.

There was public humiliation. There have been much-publicized swing changes. And there have been injuries.

But it leaves a lot of golf fans wondering if he ever really will "come back," that is, to the form we remember him in most vividly, as one of the best golfers in the history of the game.

It's anyone's guess at this point.

Still, I think Woods needs more time than a few extra weeks to get ready for tournament golf.

It appears he needs to completely reboot. Which could mean "shutting it down" for the remainder of this 2011 season and starting next year with a clean bill of health and a new outlook on his career.

Like it or not, Tiger Woods might be one bad round of golf away from exactly that fate.