Tiger Woods is out of the Open – and soon he will be out of the world’s top 20 as well.
Eight weeks since he last played competitively – and then only for nine painful and miserable holes – Woods admitted defeat yesterday in his attempt to recover fitness in time for Sandwich.
Now he is taking more time off to try to let his injured knee and Achilles tendon heal fully.
But, having already fallen this season from second in the world to 17th, the decline and fall of the 14-time major champion will continue in his absence.
Even though they are not playing this week, Australian Adam Scott and Swede Robert Karlsson are certain to go past Woods on the rankings.
And more could follow either at Castle Stuart near Inverness, where the Barclays Scottish Open starts tomorrow, or at the John Deere Classic in America.
Woods has been told he does not need further surgery on a knee that has already been operated on four times, but he is not prepared to suffer a repeat of what happened at the Players Championship in mid-May.
Injured at the Masters a month earlier, the 35-year-old limped through the Sawgrass front nine in 42 shots before withdrawing.
“As I stated (last week), I am only going to come back when I’m 100% ready. I do not want to risk further injury,” he said in a statement on his website.
“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.
“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.
“I think my best years are still ahead of me and I’m very confident and optimistic about the future.”
Woods personally contacted Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Royal and Ancient Club, to explain his decision.
“I know how disappointed Tiger is not to be able to play in the Open this year,” said Dawson.
“Naturally, we are sorry that a player of his calibre isn’t able to join us at Royal St George’s, but we wish him well in his recovery and hope to see him back soon, competing in front of the fans that love to see him play the game.”
He will be replaced by fellow American Jason Dufner, Australian Brendan Jones having turned down the chance to play because his wife is expecting.