Will he ever return? Tiger Woods confirms expected withdrawal from British Open

The 14-time major champions has undergone back surgery in both 2014 and 2015 and has not played this year

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 July, 2016, 1:44pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 July, 2016, 1:44pm

Tiger Woods has withdrawn from this month’s British Open, organisers the Royal & Ancient Golf Club have confirmed.

The news was merely a formality as there was never any indication that Woods would be healthy enough to play in the July 14-17 event at Royal Troon in Scotland.

The 40-year-old has not competed in almost 11 months and has offered no timetable on a possible return to action after undergoing back surgery last September.

He has won the British Open three times – at St Andrews in 2000 and 2005 and at Royal Liverpool in 2006.

Woods, who tied for ninth the last time the Open was held at Troon in 2004, will be replaced by Australian Marcus Fraser in the Open field.

Woods entered last month’s US Open as well as the British Open before the deadline for both events, just in case he was ready to play.

But in withdrawing from the US Open, he said: “While I continue to work hard on getting healthy, I am not physically ready to play.”

Last week he gave the strongest indication yet that he might not play again this year.

Woods has won 14 major championships, behind only the 18 captured by Jack Nicklaus.

Eight years ago, when Woods won the US Open at Torrey Pines in southern California, it seemed only injury or personal problems could stop him from surpassing Nicklaus’s record.

But his marriage disintegrated in late 2009 amid revelations of multiple affairs and he got divorced.

Although he returned to top form, winning three times on the PGA Tour in 2012 and five times in 2013, he has not added to his major championship tally.

A back injury sidelined him in 2014 and he underwent his first microdiscectomy in March of that year, playing only four more tournaments before calling a premature end to his season.

He competed in just 11 tournaments in 2015 before undergoing another microdiscectomy in September and a follow-up procedure a few weeks later and he has not played since.