Woods rocked the golf world on Monday after abruptly cancelling his
long-awaited comeback, raising fresh questions about his ability to
return to the highest levels of the sport he once ruled.
three days after the PGA Tour issued a statement trumpeting the former
world number one's participation at the Safeway Open in California this
week, Woods announced he was not ready to return from his 14-month
The 14-time major winner, 40, who has been out of
action since undergoing surgery late last year to cure a long-standing
back injury, said concerns over form - rather than fitness - were
behind the decision to delay his comeback.
"After a lot of
soul-searching and honest reflection, I know that I am not yet ready to
play on the PGA Tour or compete in Turkey," said Woods, who was also due
to take part in next month's Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya.
health is good, and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not
where it needs to be," added Woods, who however said he hoped to play in
December's Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
Woods was one of
the US Ryder Cup assistant captains as the hosts won back the trophy off
Europe just over a week ago at Hazeltine.
Woods said while that
experience whetted his appetite to return to playing, he realised he was
not ready to compete against the world's best.
"When I announced
last week I was going to Safeway, I had every intention of playing, or I
wouldn't have committed," added Woods, whose last major victory came in
2008 and who has not won a US PGA event for three years.
a week with the US Ryder Cup Team, an honor and experience that
inspired me even more to play. I practiced the last several days in
California, but after a lot of hours, I knew I wasn't ready to compete
against the best golfers in the world."
sudden withdrawal is a bodyblow for the Safeway Open, which had
reportedly sold around 28 000 tickets since the golfer first announced
he planned to make his comeback at the event.
"I would like to
apologise and send my regrets to Safeway, the Turkish Airlines Open, the
fans in California and Turkey and those that had hoped to watch me
compete on TV," Woods said.
"This isn't what I wanted to happen,
but I will continue to strive to be able to play tournament golf. I'm
close and I won't stop until I get there."
Tournament host Johnny Miller expressed sympathy for Woods' decision, while acknowledging it would affect this week's event.
"Obviously it's a huge impact on our tournament," Miller told the Golf Channel.
"Obviously I wish Tiger the best. Everybody was so excited in the golf world. It's hard to break that news. It really is.
"It's hard being Tiger Woods, especially if you can't back it up with a semblance of the old Tiger Woods," Miller added.
expects him to come back and play like the year 2000 Tiger Woods and
that's just not going to happen. He's got to break the ice sometime. I
hope he picks the right spot."
Woods' long-time agent Mark Steinberg strongly hinted the player would only make his return on US soil as part of the PGA Tour.
don't think it's appropriate and Tiger doesn't think it's appropriate
for him to have his first tournament back not be part of the PGA Tour,"
"That decision has nothing to do with health or
projecting where his golf game is going to be in three weeks. It's out
of respect to the PGA Tour.
"It didn't feel right, so we decided we should just wait and look at the Hero World Challenge to be his return date."