Tiger Woods has announced his withdrawal from the Safeway Open, which would have marked his first participation in a PGA event since the Wyndham Championship in August 2015.
Woods officially committed to compete in the season-opening event on Friday but announced his decision to withdraw Monday in a statement posted on his website. Tiger announced last month that he hoped to participate in three events this fall. On Monday he announced that he would not compete in either the Safeway Open and the Turkish Airlines Open.
Here is the statement from Woods, released on tigerwoods.com Monday:
After a lot of soul searching and honest reflection, I know that I am not yet ready to play on the PGA TOUR or compete in Turkey. My health is good, and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be.
When I announced last week I was going to Safeway, I had every intention of playing, or I wouldn’t have committed. I spent a week with the U.S. Ryder Cup Team, an honor and experience that inspired me even more to play. I practiced the last several days in California, but after a lot of hours, I knew I wasn’t ready to compete against the best golfers in the world. I will continue to work hard, and plan to play at my foundation’s event, the Hero World Challenge, in Albany.
I would like to apologize and send my regrets to Safeway, the Turkish Airlines Open, the fans in California and Turkey and those that had hoped to watch me compete on TV. This isn’t what I wanted to happen, but I will continue to strive to be able to play tournament golf. I’m close, and I won’t stop until I get there.
Safeway Open tournament host Johnny Miller said that Tiger’s decision was disappointing, especially given the attention the tournament has received because of his return, the Golf Channel reports.
“You’ve got to break the ice sometime,” Miller said, “I hope he picks the right spot.”
Tiger was set to play with Phil Mickelson for the first two rounds of this week’s tournament. Ticket sales for the event reportedly doubled from last year, likely because of the golfer’s expected return.
Tiger still plans to play at his foundation’s event, the Hero World Challenge, in the first week of December.