Posted: 12:45 pm Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Tiger Woods out; Masters, ratings will take hit 

By Jeff Schultz

Tiger Woods would draw crowds wherever he went at the Masters, including the practice range. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Tiger Woods would always draw crowds at the Masters, even the practice range. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

The Masters has been one of the world’s premier sports events for decades, so this isn’t to suggest that Tiger Woods’ stunning announcement that he’s pulling out of the tournament because of back surgery will reduce the tournament to a local putt-putt tournament on the giraffe course at Mountasia.

But the Masters just became less interesting.

Top golfers qualify for Masters | Complete list of of field

First the Eisenhower Tree goes down, now this:

Woods, who has been suffering from back spasms recently, announced on his website TigerWoods.com that he underwent a microdiscectomy on Monday in Park City, Utah, and is pulling out of the tournament. A full copy of the statement is below.

Woods sent this message out on Twitter:

This will be the first time Woods has missed the Masters in his career. He hasn’t won at Augusta National since 2005. He hasn’t won a major since the U.S. Open in 2008. But he is the No. 1 ranked player in the world and remains the most interesting golfer on the Tour. He draws the biggest galleries — by a longshot — and stirs the most media attention and biggest television ratings. With the chance that Phil Mickelson also may miss the Masters because of a strained oblique, there’s a chance the jewel of the golf season will be without its two biggest attractions.

It doesn’t matter whether you love Woods or hate him, or fall somewhere in between. Next week won’t be the same without him teeing off on Thursday, even if the chances of him winning seemed less than great, given his recent health issues.

Because Woods’ announcement coincided with April Fools Day, sone have wondered whether this was some elaborate joke. But I phoned the office of his agent, Mark Steinberg and was assured by an assistant that, “Everything on TigerWoods.com is accurate.” So if this is a joke, they’re going to great extremes to pull it off.

He suffered from back spasms last fall and again recently at the Honda Classic, leading him to withdraw from the tournament during the final round. When he shot a final-round career-high of 78 in the WGC Cadillac Championship, it reaffirmed the seriousness of his condition.

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne released a statement on Woods’ absence: “Tiger was gracious in keeping us updated of his condition and making us aware of his decision.  We wholeheartedly offered our best wishes for his immediate and long-term recovery.  Tiger will be in our thoughts and will be missed by our patrons and all of us at the Masters Tournament next week. He is one of our most decorated champions and we look forward to his healthy return in 2015 and beyond.”

Here is Woods’ full statement from TigerWoods.com:

Tiger Woods announced Tuesday that he has undergone a successful microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve that has been hurting him for several months.

The surgery was performed Monday in Park City, Utah, by neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Rich.

The procedure was successful, but Woods will be unable to play in the Masters Tournament, instead requiring rest and rehabilitation for the next several weeks.

“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 said.

“I’d like to express my disappointment to the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I will not be at the Masters,” Tiger 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.

“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.”

Woods will begin intensive rehabilitation and soft-tissue treatment within a week. Healing and recovery times differ for each individual based on many physiological factors, but Woods could begin chipping and putting, after assessment by his doctors, in three weeks.

The goal is for Tiger to resume playing sometime this summer. The repetitive motion from golf can cause this injury, and Woods could have sustained further damage if he had continued to play. There should be no long-lasting effects from the surgery, and it should not impact the longevity of his career.

“It’s tough right now, but I’m absolutely optimistic about the future,” Woods said. “There are a couple [of] records by two outstanding individuals and players that I hope one day to break. As I’ve said many times, Sam and Jack reached their milestones over an entire career. I plan to have a lot of years left in mine.”

Some recent ramblings, on demand . . .
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– Blog: NFL must deal with Irsay (and Roddy White has his say)
– MyAJC ($):Georgia loses but Fox goes down swinging at NCAA
– MyAJC ($): Florida proving football school can win at hoops
– Blog: Bad sign? Florida struggles in win over Tennessee
– MyAJC ($): Georgia is given its chance to shine
– MyAJC ($): Page 2 special: College playoff arguments don’t make it wrong
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47 comments
RangeRover
RangeRover

You can count me in as one who will now actually watch the Master's as I most certainly wouldn't have with with this filth of a human being so unabashedly exalted by the media...exemplified by this very story.

Irreversible Impotence would be the just denouement for this degenerate...

wregl
wregl

So have you gone Bradley on us Schultzie? An article to produce hits on your name.

intune
intune

"MASTERS", just think about it for a minute.

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

The Masters will be BETTER without Woods...........no black/white thingy here; the TV coverage will be better because they will not feel obligated to show EVERY deliberation and golf shot by Woods. This will lead to more even and fair coverage of the other great golfers in the field. 


I will miss Phil if he cannot play.


The Masters will be great regardless of the participants!

GetBackJojo
GetBackJojo

Sorry Mr. Schultz, yeah, I know Tiger is something, but The Masters is the greatest major of the year in the world. The new youngsters will step-up. I will be more upset if Phil is not there. I'll be watching, just like I have for ages.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

Payton34.....you know when a pro golfer is washed up when he can no longer earn a check on the Senior Tour because he forgot how to fill out his scorecard.  Other than that, they all make a great living, reguardless of age.  It is the ultimate profession that knows how to protect it's own like no other industry.

96JB
96JB

I have watched other tournaments that Tiger was like in 10 th place AND STILL got more camera time than the leader. His time has come and gone. He's just another tour player, a good one, who will win once or twice a year, nothing more. His lore will drive the networks, like CNN with this missing plane. It's just been too good to let go.

BRAVES2143
BRAVES2143

Tiger Woods joined the PGA tour in July of 1996 and that year 9 golfers made over 1 million dollars in prize money.10 years later 93 golfers were pocketing over a million dollars a year.In 2000 when Tiger Woods was destroying Pebble Beach his popularity and golf viewership was at it’s all time highest and because of this the PGA tour was able to get quite a bit money out of CBS & NBC for the TV rights and even though Tiger wasn’t playing every week they were able to demand larger purses for the privilege of hosting a weekly PGA stop.When the economy tanked Golf was able to stay afloat because sponsors were quick to line up when one of their own had to bail on a tournament.Tim Finchem deserves a lot of the credit for this explosion of golf riches but had he not had Tiger Woods none of it would have come about.

Personally I watched Golf on TV before Tiger and I will enjoy it after Tiger but like him or not he is the reason Golf is as popular as it is today and with his decline golf’s purses will decline too.    

Payton34
Payton34

How do people judge a golfer as washed up? 

GT71
GT71

We'll not miss at all the media's pandering, fawning love affair with a has-been on the downward trail to an ignominious end.

The guy was a great golfer in his day, but as a person, not so much.  It catches up to you.  Call it Karma?

I'm looking forward to watching the greatest golf specticle in the world and this time it'll be about the tournament and all the players...not just a 'Tiger show'.

But do remember that the AJC serves a 'black' audience in Atlanta first, so they have to pander to make a penny.  And Shultz is a 'company man'.  He knows who signs his paycheck. 

BobDawg
BobDawg

Tiger is a 38 year old with a 50 year old body… a 54 hole golfer now and ready for the Champions tour… Oops, the next 12 years are going to be embarrassing for him...

wregl
wregl

Sorry Schultzie, the Masters is bigger than any player. The Masters has more people watching that are non-golfers than any other tourney. The Masters is simply the Masters and one guy, albeit the one you media guys fall to the feet of and drool over as if he is a God, will have little affect on viewership. His absence will actually be welcomed by millions as a sign of Masters coverage instead of Tiger Watch 2014 by the easily led astray sports media.

JaySly
JaySly

tiger need to stay away from all those hot 20 something chicks for awhile--they are draining all his energy and hurting his back---his game is all messed up

Beretverde
Beretverde

Old injuries "creep up" with age. Getting butt-stroked by a wife swinging a nine iron does damage and it all adds up. Nor more use of certain growth hormones for PR's sake (read money-endorsements) adds up as well.  He's not missed by many...many more than you really want to know. A hard-core gold crowd crows for him very loudly...and it is heard. But this core is NOT the majority. "Great golfer...bad person!"

ATLJacket
ATLJacket

I call BS on this.  I couldn't care less whether or not Tiger is playing in the Masters.  It is highly unlikely he would win and I'm not sure he would even have a major contenders tee time on Sunday.  Get over Tiger which I know is hard since he can't get over himself and it seems so contagious.  When was his last major win?  I can't even remember.  It's like worrying that Dale Murphy won't be able to throw out the first pitch at Turner field on opening day.

SOB
SOB

Hope ya'll all "miss" his club throwing, incessant cursing in front of old ladies and children, his arrogance and self-centerednes, his disrespect of the very game he is playing, his philandering, his pettiness, and his downright stupidity. From it's invention, golf was called a gentlemen's game for a reason. Tiger is no gentleman. Me, I'm watching the Masters! Greatest golf event on Earth...

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

Karma for him cheating last year after hitting the flag stick and rolling into Ray's creek ... then intentionally dropping 2 steps further back.

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

"Tiger Woods out; Masters, ratings will take hit."

Not if the MEDIA, the same MEDIA who has shoved TW down our throats year-after-year, doesn't want the ratings to take a hit.

BSNBC
BSNBC

Most people hate the low- life  now and could care less if he ever plays again!!

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Another 'who cares' article by the legend in his own mind. Write an article about the effect of Wood's withdrawl on the tournament's outcome but Masters ratings mean nothing to anyone not named Jeff Schultz. The Green jackets certainly don't care as evidenced by them running the Masters commercial free for 2 years when Martha Burke tried to throw her weight around. I don't care as long as I'm watching the tournament. Why waste time writing such an article when so many better stories are out there?

Steverino
Steverino

No Tiger? But...but... **sigh**... What will those guys point their TV cameras at? What will ESPN do about their nightly highlights? Will they even bother to SHOW any? Maybe we can have a "Best of Tiger at Augusta" montage coming in and out of each commercial break. I mean, we DO want people to watch...DON'T WE?!!

SLR
SLR

Less interesting? Are you joking? Finally, we get to watch some golf and enjoy it and not have to endure you journalists' overbearing Obsession with "Everything Tiger".

Andy123
Andy123

I guess they won't be serving fried chicken and collards next next year at the Champion's Dinner.

BRAVES2143
BRAVES2143

Since this is the Masters more will watch it then other majors but CBS can forget about  the casual golf fan tunning in Sunday afternoon  When TIger had knee surgery after the 08 US Open and missed the rest of that season TV ratings were down almost 50% from the previous year for the British Open and PGA so you have to bet NBC is begging him right now to get back prior to the US Open in June.    

GTBob
GTBob

Just being honest, but this does kill the excitement of the masters. I'm not even sure I will watch now. CBS has to be bummed out.

Andy123
Andy123

Its sad that whats left of golf revolves around Tiger showing up or not.  If he were to get hit by a bus tomorrow, the PGA might as well pack it in like bowling. 

Baghead
Baghead

Yay.  If we watch on TV, we might actually get to see other players now.  No more stinky crowds either!  

graphite
graphite

Looks like those white hoes were too much for the stud master.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

If the Masters has plenty of pimento cheese sandwiches, the ratings will be fine.

DarrylDouglass
DarrylDouglass

Finally, no Tiger, whewwwww... I can enjoy a Masters again.

RUM
RUM

I think he got the back injury when his x hit him with the 9 iron.

HCCynic
HCCynic

This story does not warrant "Breaking News" status, but that is another rant.

As far as this guy missing the Masters, I have but two thoughts,

Great I will watch it this year,

and

I will again enjoy the broadcast with the sound muted so that I do not have to listen to the announcers cry and whine about "poor ole Tiger" and the amorous cooing of Jim Nantz "Oh Tiger, we miss you soooooo much"

There will also be the endless diatribe of  "Oh look that guy has a red Under Armor shirt like Tiger; someone run quick, get an interview..."

almmanduane75
almmanduane75

Respect him, but he's had his time in the sun.                  Said years ago his back would go one day.


He's not going to catch Jack's major record anyway and these young boys coming up today aren't intimidated by him at all.


Would love to see what he and Jack would have done had they played with each others equipment.

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

I never liekd him so U can bet I will atcth this year!

HCCynic
HCCynic

What will those guys point there cameras at?

Easy...

The white women in the crowd Tiger would have been hitting on, if he had been in the Tournement

SimpleDawg
SimpleDawg

Obviously, you are neither a golf fan, nor are you a fan of The Masters. The Masters was a great tournament before Tiger, and will be a great tournament long after Tiger is gone.

GTBob
GTBob

@SimpleDawg  I love playing golf and I love watching golf when Tiger is playing. He brings an excitement to every tournament that others can't really bring. Sorry, but watching Luke Donald or Brandt Snedeker play doesn't really do it for me. They are fine golfers, but there is nothing all that exciting about them. Looking at TV ratings for tournaments that Tiger plays in vs ones that he sits out leads me to believe that im not alone.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Unless you are one of the 3 tournament sponsors i can't fathom a reason why you would care who else is watching other than yourself.