Woods ruled out of Masters after back surgery

First time Woods will miss Masters since his debut in 1995

Published: April 1 2014 | 10:45 am - Updated: 7 April 2014 | 3:02 pm in

April 1 (Reuters) - Tiger Woods said on Tuesday he will miss next week's Masters after undergoing back surgery for a pinched nerve.

The world number one released a statement on his website saying the operation had been successful but he needed to take a rest before playing again.

"After attempting to get ready for the Masters, and failing to make the necessary progress, I decided, in consultation with my doctors, to have this procedure done," said Woods.

Woods has not missed the tournament, golf season's first major, since he made his debut at Augusta National as an amateur in 1995. This year's Masters starts on April 10.

The 38-year-old Woods has been plagued by back problems since last year but his condition worsened last month.

He failed to finish the Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens in early March, quitting after 13 holes in his final round.

Then he tweaked his back again on the last day at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami a week later, tumbling out of contention with a final-round 78 to finish tied for 25th.

He then pulled out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a tournament he has won eight times, including 2012 and 2013, in the hope that he could play at the Masters before opting to undergo surgery instead.

"It's tough right now, but I'm absolutely optimistic about the future," Woods said. "There are a couple records by two outstanding individuals and players that I hope one day to break.

"As I've said many times, Sam and Jack reached their milestones over an entire career. I plan to have a lot of years left in mine." (Reporting Julian Linden in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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