The Masters could look very different this year, with Tiger Woods pulling out because he is still recovering from back surgery, and Phil Mickelson possibly out as well after suffering his own injury.
Woods announced Tuesday that he will miss the Masters
for the first time in his career after undergoing a microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve in his back. Neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Rich performed the surgery Monday in Park City, Utah.
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"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," Woods wrote.
"I'd like to express my disappointment to the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I will not be at the Masters," he added. "It's a week that's very special to me. It also looks like I'll be forced to miss several upcoming tournaments to focus on my rehabilitation and getting healthy."
Facing an injury of his own, Mickelson withdrew from last week's Valero Texas Open after he pulled an oblique muscle on the 10th hole of the third round Saturday, Golf Digest reported.
"My back's feeling great, my body's been feeling great, I felt as good as I have all year," Mickelson said. "My speed is back, I was hitting the ball hard, driving it great. I pulled a muscle on my downswing trying to hit the ball hard on the second hole. It just killed and wouldn't subside for 10 or 12 seconds."
While Mickelson said he still hopes to participate in the Shell Houston Open this week and the Masters, Shell officials said the golfer withdrew from the pro-am portion of the tournament, according to the Golf Channel.
"We haven't heard a word from Phil, so we don't know whether he's playing or not," a PGA Tour official said, according to the Golf Channel. "All we know at this stage is that we had a call saying he (needed to) be excused from competing in the pro-am."
According to Golf Digest, Mickelson will have a doctor advise him on the best course to take.
"I'm going to go back to San Diego for a couple of days and have a doctor take a look at it, but there's really not much you can do for a pulled muscle," Mickelson said.
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