World number one Tiger Woods says he remains uncertain if he will be able to play in the Masters despite two weeks of rest and treatment for back spasms.
Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the all-time record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, withdrew from last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, where he has won eight times including last year, due to nagging back pain.
A year after he won five tournaments and appeared set for a solid run in the majors in 2014, his status for the Masters on April 10-13 remains in doubt even with a potential four weeks of rest for his aching back.
“For Augusta, it’s actually still a little too soon,” Woods said. “That’s the frustrating thing about this.
“I’ve had a couple of weeks off and getting treatment and working on trying to get it ready for Augusta.
“As of right now, still too soon, which is very frustrating.”
The 38-year-old American struggled to a 78 in the final round of the World Golf Championships event at Doral earlier this month, visibly bothered by back pain over the final holes, and pulled out of the final round of the Honda Classic the week before.
Woods was asked about the details of his injury but did not address specifics. A Golfweek magazine report last week said Woods was suffering from a bulging disc but it would not require surgery.
Any operation might jeopardise Woods beyond the Masters in a year where the other majors are played on courses where he has won, Valhalla for the PGA Championship and Hoylake for the British Open, or finished second, with the US Open at Pinehurst, where he was the 2005 US Open runner-up.
Woods has won four times at Augusta National but has not taken a Masters green jacket since 2005. he has not won any major title since the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines, when he limped through an 18-hole playoff to defeat Rocco Mediate.