Ryder Cup: Former world No 1 Tiger Woods sidelined with back injury
Last Updated: 14/08/14 10:39pm
Tiger Woods has confirmed that he will not be available for next month's Ryder Cup.
Woods issued a statement announcing he has informed American captain Tom Watson that he has taken himself out of consideration for the contest at Gleneagles.
The 14-time major champion has been advised by his medical team to take another break from the game to give his ailing back further time to recover from the surgery he underwent in March.
Watson said on Monday that he would monitor Woods’ situation over the next three weeks as he retained hope that he would be able to select the former world No 1 as a captain’s pick.
But Woods has now conceded defeat in his battle to feature in the 40th edition of the Ryder Cup, and he is now unlikely to play again until he hosts the World Challenge at his home course of Isleworth in early December.
“I've been told by my doctors and trainer that my back muscles need to be rehabilitated and healed,” said Woods, who missed the cut by a distance at last week’s PGA Championship and appeared in frequent pain.
“They've advised me not to play or practice now. I was fortunate that my recent back injury was not related to my surgery and was muscular only.
“I have already spoken to Tom [Watson] about the Ryder Cup, and while I greatly appreciate his thinking about me for a possible captain's pick, I took myself out of consideration.
“The US team and the Ryder Cup mean too much to me not to be able to give it my best. I'll be cheering for the U.S. team. I think we have an outstanding squad going into the matches.
TIGER'S RYDER CUP RECORD
- TOURNAMENTS: 7
- MATCHES: 33
- WON: 13
- LOST: 17
- HALVED: 3
“I plan to return to competition at my World Challenge tournament at Isleworth in Orlando, Florida, Dec. 1-7. It's an event that's important to me and my foundation, and it will be exciting to be playing again.”
Watson was naturally disappointed to receive the news, but he was grateful to Woods for informing him in good time.
"My primary wish is for Tiger to be healthy and competitive, and I hope that he'll return to the game very soon," Watson said in a statement.
"Of course, I'm disappointed that Tiger Woods has asked not to be considered for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, and that his health is not where he would like it to be.
"However, I think we can all agree that we need Tiger Woods in this great sport, and he has taken the high road by informing me early on in the selection process.
I have already spoken to Tom [Watson] about the Ryder Cup, and while I greatly appreciate his thinking about me for a possible captain's pick, I took myself out of consideration.
“My focus will remain on identifying three players to join the U.S. team and give us the best chance for success at Gleneagles."
Woods was sidelined for almost four months before returning ahead of schedule at the Quicken Loans National in June, where he failed to make the cut before watching Justin Rose claim the title after a play-off.
He managed to play the full 72 holes in the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, but he was never in serious contention over the weekend and finished on six over par – 23 shots behind champion Rory McIlroy.
Woods was forced to pull out of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational during the final round after suffering severe back spasms which left him barely able to walk unaided.
He insisted the problem was only temporary and declared himself fit to tee up at Valhalla, but he was clearly hampered by further back pain and missed the cut by five shots.
His withdrawal from the Ryder Cup is the latest blow for Watson, who is already without Dustin Johnson while Jason Dufner and Matt Kuchar are added injury concerns.
Johnson is taking a six-month break from competitive golf to deal with issues in his personal life, while Dufner played only nine holes of the PGA Championship before pulling out with a neck problem.
Kuchar withdrew prior to the first round at Valhalla with a back injury, although he is expected to recover in time to feature in the forthcoming FedExCup play-offs.
Former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher told Sky Sports News HQ that Woods' withdrawal leaves the American team under-strength.
"I think it’s a big loss and I think Tom is really struggling this year – he’s already lost Dustin Johnson, he won all his matches last time at Medinah and is a very powerful player.
"He’s also got a problem with Matt Kuchar who’s got a sore back – he pulled out of Valhalla last week and Jason Dufner could only play a few holes.
"So there is a problem but saying that, the last time America won – at Valhalla in 2008 – Tiger wasn’t around so Tom Watson will probably be reminding his team of that nearer the match."
Nine players have qualified automatically for the American Ryder Cup team, with Watson set to name his three captain’s picks on September 2.
You can watch the Ryder Cup live from Gleneagles only on the Sky Sports Ryder Cup channel starting on September 23.