Tiger Woods will make an appearance in New York on Monday to sign copies of his new book which is a memoir of his 1997 Masters triumph. However, playing two weeks later in this year's Masters seems unplausible.
According to multiple sourses, Woods has not been able to play or practice since his withdrawal from the Dubai Desert Classic last month because of back spasms.
Woods' agent was emailed by a few sources seeking an update on his condition and schedule but he was unresponsive. A source close to the situation near Woods' home in Jupiter, Florida, said, "I would be shocked if he plays anytime soon."
Another source said that he saw Woods recently and he "didn't look good," adding that while he hopes he is back soon, Woods doesn't look close to being ready and that a return at the Masters would be too soon. The source added that all Woods has been able to do of late is putt.
Just over a week ago, Woods said on his website that because of ongoing rest and rehabilitation on his back he would not be able to play in this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, an event that he has won a record eight times. He went on to add that there is "no timetable" for his return.
If he were to miss this year's Masters, it would be the second straight year and third time since 2014 that Tiger has missed the Masters.
Tiger sat out all of the 2015-'16 PGA Tour season because of back surgeries that he underwent in late 2015 to remove floating pieces of a disintegrating disc and to alleviate nerve pain. He returned in December 2016 amidst much media fanfare at the Hero world Challenge in the Bahamas, where he recorded the most number of birdies by any player in the field but still only finished two spots from the bottom in the 17-man field.
While there were signs of optimism to take from that performance, Woods struggled in his only PGA Tour outing of 2017 so far at the Farmers Insurance Open where he missed the cut after two rounds of 76-72. What followed was his puzzling decision to fly out to Dubai with his back still in a precarious state, he shot an opening round 77 and then withdrew prior to the start of the second round.
His ambitious schedule of four events in five weeks was cut short and he pulled out of his next two starts at the Genesis Open at Riviera and the Honda Classic in Jupiter, Florida. After being advised to "stay horizontal", he also canceled a press conference that he was meant to attend as tournament host prior to the start of his foundation's event at Riviera.
Three weeks ago, Rory McIlroy had lunch with Woods and later said Tiger was "in good spirits" but hesitated when asked if he thought Woods could be back for the Masters, adding,
"Possibly. These next few weeks will probably tell."
"I think the good thing is mentally he’s in a good place,"McIlroy said at the time. "He’s got other things in his life that he’s interested in and it’s not as if it’s just golf. He’s got other things and that’s great."
"He struggled with his body over the past couple years, and it’s unfortunate because it just won’t allow him to do what he wants to do. It’s tough, but I know that he’s working hard to try and get back. Again, with your body and with injuries, it just takes time."
Woods is a four time winner of the coveted green jacket, the last one coming in 2005 when he beat Chris DiMarco on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.
His last shot at reclaiming the green jacket was in 2015 where he put in an acceptable performance to tie for 17th after being an early contender on the weekend.
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