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Tiger Woods to miss The Players Championship with back problem

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Image: Tiger Woods has spent the last three weeks on the sidelines

Tiger Woods is to spend another week on the sidelines as he bids to overcome his back problem and will miss The Players Championship next week.

Woods has not played since finishing last - among players who made the cut - at the Genesis Invitational at Riviera in California three weeks ago, when he revealed he had back stiffness.

The 44-year-old subsequently swerved the WGC-Mexico Championship and also decided not to play in last week's Honda Classic near his south Florida home.

It was thought Woods could return in this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational - he has won the tournament at Bay Hill eight times - but he delayed his comeback last week and has now decided to sit out the PGA Tour's flagship tournament at TPC Sawgrass.

"I have to listen to my body and properly rest when needed," he tweeted. "My back is simply just not ready for play next week."

Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said in a text to ESPN that the problem is "not concerning long term".

Woods has undergone back surgery four times in recent years and this latest delay raises further concerns over his fitness ahead of his defence of the Masters title next month.

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Image: Woods' continued absence raises concerns over his fitness ahead of the Masters

The former world No 1 announced last week he was going to follow last year's "blueprint" as he prepares to play at Augusta National.

He did, however, play in The Players Championship - an event he has won twice - last year when he finished in a tie for 30th place.

The Valspar Championship from March 19-22 and the following week's WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play are now options for Woods to make his return.

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