Last Updated: 02/04/14 5:21pm
Tiger Woods: Has suffered long-term back problems
Tiger Woods has been ruled out of the Masters at Augusta after having surgery on a pinched nerve in his back.
The world No 1 was forced to miss his usual warm-up, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, last month because of back spasms and admitted his condition was "very frustrating".
But his worst fears were confirmed on Tuesday with the confirmation on his official website that he would be unable to feature in a Masters for the first time since 1995 having undergone a "successful microdiscectomy" for a pinched nerve "that has been hurting him for several months".
A statement by the four-time Masters champion Woods read: "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.
"I'd like to express my disappointment to the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I will not be at the Masters. 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.
"I'm shocked and it's a bitter blow for him and golf fans. It's a big problem for him. He's had a catalogue of injuries. These are worrying times for Tiger Woods."
Sky Sports' Mark Roe
"I'd also like to thank the fans for their support and concern. It's very kind and greatly appreciated. This is frustrating, but it's something my doctors advised me to do for my immediate and long-term health."
The 38-year-old American aggravated his back in the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March and then withdrew from the Honda Classic.
Woods has endured a number of injury problems over the last six years, missing two Opens, a US Open and a PGA Championships but has played in every Masters since making his debut as an amateur in 1995.
Sky Sports golf pundit Mark Roe said: "I'm shocked and it's a bitter blow for him and golf fans. It's a big problem for him. He's had a catalogue of injuries.
"These are worrying times for Tiger Woods. He's not an old man yet but he's played a lot of times injured and back problems are serious at any time in a career."
Woods' former coach Butch Harmon added: “I think he probably made a smart move. I think Tiger Woods is probably looking at the longevity of his career and realising at this point in time that, if he tried to play, he might injure his back more than he has already.
“It’s going to be a slow rehab - whether or not he is fit to play in the US Open we will just have to wait and see - but I think in the long run, if this makes him healthier, then we will see a stronger and better Tiger Woods come back when he is able to play."
Watch all four days of the Masters live on Sky Sports 4 from 7pm on Thursday, April 10
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