Tiger Woods had surgery on his ailing back and said Tuesday he will miss the Masters for the first time in his career.
Woods said on his website that he had surgery Monday in Utah for a pinched nerve that had been hurting him for several months, knowing the surgery would keep him from Augusta National next week for the first time since he was in high school.
The No. 1 player in the world is a four-time Masters champion.
"After attempting to get ready for the Masters, and failing to make the necessary progress, I decided in consultation with my doctors to have this procedure done, Woods said. "I'd like to express my disappointment to the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I will not be at the Masters.
"It's a week that's very special to me," he said. "It also looks like I'll be forced to miss several upcoming tournaments to focus on my rehabilitation and getting healthy."
The Masters gets the highest television ratings of any golf tournament, and while Woods last won a green jacket in 2005, he commands most of the attention. He won his first Masters in 1997 when he set 20 records, from youngest Masters champion (21) to his 12-shot margin of victory.
Woods has been coping with back issues since last summer — a twinge in the final round of the PGA Championship, spasms in the final round of The Barclays that caused him to fall to his knees, and then it returned with alarming regularity during the Florida swing.
He withdrew after 13 holes in the final round of the Honda Classic with what he described as lower back pain and spasms. Woods shot the highest final round of his career at Doral a week later when he said his back flared up again in the final round. He skipped the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he was the two-time defending champion, to rest his back and do everything possible to be at Augusta National next week.