Tiger Woods, the golfer who lives for major championships and who is on a quest to topple Jack Nicklaus’ record victories, will miss his second consecutive major this year. The U.S. Open at Pinehurst is out for Woods.
His surgically repaired back has not recovered enough for him to compete in next month’s event in two weeks, a blow to Woods and his ambition to increase from 14 his number of major championship victories. Nicklaus has 18.
“Unfortunately, I won’t be there because I’m not yet physically able to play competitive golf,” Woods said via his website. It’s the sixth major he will be sidelined due to injury. “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.”
Woods has not played since the WGC-Cadillac Championship on March 9. He had surgery to alleviate a pinched nerve in his back on March 31, causing him to miss the Masters for the first time in his career.
Since winning the 2008 U.S. Open — the last of his 14 major titles — Woods has missed four other majors, two that year following knee surgery, and two in 2011 after knee and Achilles injuries.
With his inactivity, Woods has dropped to No. 3 in the world behind Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson.
Last week at the Quicken Loans National media day, Woods gave no indication of a return to the PGA Tour.
“There’s no date, there’s no timetable, just taking it day by day and just focusing on trying to get stronger and come back,” he said at the Congressional Country Club on May 19. “I want to play today, but that’s just not going to happen. So just taking it step by step.”
The Quicken Loans Tournament benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, and it is just two weeks after the U.S. Open. The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool — where Woods won in 2006 — is five weeks after the U.S. Open.
Woods called Nicklaus on Wednesday morning to express his regrets over not being able to compete at this week’s Memorial Tournament, hosted by Nicklaus, which Woods has won five times.
“It was a very, very nice call, wishing me well [with] the tournament, sorry he couldn’t be here,” Nicklaus said. “He said he’s doing well, progressing well, and he’s looking forward to getting back into the game. He misses it.”