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August 13. 2014 9:52PM

Ailing Woods rules himself out of Ryder Cup

Tiger Woods has ruled himself out of contention for one of three wildcard picks by United States Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson due to lingering back problems, the former world number one said on Wednesday.

Woods, who had surgery in March to treat a pinched nerve in his back, asked Watson not to consider him for the biennial team competition against Europe next month.

“While I greatly appreciate Tom thinking about me for a possible captain’s pick, I must take myself out of consideration,” Woods said in a statement.

“I’ve been told by my doctors and trainer that my back muscles need to be rehabilitated and healed. They’ve advised me not to play or practice now. I’m extremely disappointed that I won’t be ready for the competition.

“The U.S. 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.”

Woods, a 14-time major winner, has been a shadow of his former self since his back surgery in late March and missed the cut at last week’s PGA Championship, only the fourth missed cut of his professional career in a major.

Though he had pronounced himself fit to compete in the year’s final major after recovering from back spasms that forced him to withdraw from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational the previous week, he played poorly in both rounds.

By some distance the leading player of his generation and arguably of all time, Woods had previously missed the cut as a professional at the 2006 U.S. Open, 2009 British Open and 2011 PGA Championship.

Woods, 38, has appeared on seven U.S. Ryder Cup teams between 1997 and 2012 but missed the 2008 edition at Valhalla Golf Club after having knee surgery earlier that year.

“My primary wish is for Tiger to be healthy and competitive, and I hope that he’ll return to the game very soon,” U.S. captain Watson said.

“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.”

The Ryder Cup will take place at Gleneagles in Scotland from Sept 26-28.


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