No British Open for Tiger
It was no surprise that Tiger Woods announced on Tuesday that he’d be skipping his second straight major.
The question now becomes whether golf’s fallen star will return in time for the year’s final major, the PGA Championship in Atlanta next month?
Or will the entire year will be lost for him?
Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, sounded a note of optimism to offset speculation that we may not see the former world No. 1 on the course again until next season.
“Progressing well,” he wrote in an email to FOXSports.com.
“As he said, he will play when he is fully healthy.
“He is getting there.”
Steinberg did not answer specific questions about the state of Woods’ progress, such as whether he was yet able to hit full golf shots.
As of last week, Woods said injuries to his left knee and Achilles tendon restricted him to practicing only putting.
If he intends on playing at Atlanta Athletic Club, it’s highly unlikely he’d do so without a lead-in tournament.
That tournament would most likely be the no-cut Bridgestone Invitational, held at Akron’s Firestone Country Club the week before the PGA.
Woods has won that tournament seven times, although last year — while he was finalizing his divorce — he also had his worst finish as a professional there.
The Bridgestone Invitational begins Aug. 4. Woods has four weeks to get ready.
That may not be enough time. Woods hasn’t worked with his swing coach, Sean Foley, since The Players Championship.
There was certainly little chance he’d show up at Royal St. Georges, site of next week’s British Open.
Last week, he virtually ruled it out.
“I wouldn’t go over there just to show up. I’d go over there to win the golf tournament, so I need to obviously get my body ready,” he said.
His body’s far from ready.
“I am only going to come back when I’m 100 percent ready. I do not want to risk further injury,” Woods said in a statement issued on his website Tuesday.
“That’s different for me, but I’m being smarter this time.
“I’m very disappointed and want to express my regrets to the British Open fans.”
Woods suffered a sprain to the medial collateral ligament in his left knee and strained his left Achilles while hitting a shot at the Masters in April.
The injuries were initially called “mild” but they were serious enough to keep him from playing the Wells Fargo Championship, held at Charlotte’s Quail Hollow, one of Woods’ favorite courses.
In what he now calls “a borderline decision,” Woods chose to play The Players Championship but aggravated his injuries on his opening tee shot. He was forced to withdraw after just nine holes. Woods was 6 over par at the time.
“In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have competed at The Players, but it’s a big event, and I wanted to be there to support the tour," he said.
“I’ve got to learn from what I did there and do it right this time and not come back until I’m ready.”
Hurting himself at TPC Sawgrass cost Woods a start at the US Open, played on another of his favorite tracks, Congressional Country Club.
He’ll now miss back-to-back majors for only the second time in his career.
Indeed, Woods didn’t miss a major after turning pro in late 1996 until he was forced to have knee surgery — on the same left knee — after famously winning the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines.
He hasn’t won a major since, stalled at 14 in his quest to break the Jack Nicklaus majors record of 18.
Woods, however, isn’t bleak about his future.
"I think my best years are still ahead of me, and I’m very confident and optimistic about the future,” he said Tuesday.
When that future begins is another question.