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Tiger Woods announces he will not play in the Masters

Tiger Woods announces he will not play in the Masters
Tiger Woodshas not recovered from two back surgeries this winter. (Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

Tiger Woods is going to Augusta National to eat, not to play.

Woods made official Friday night what most observers figured all along. Recovery from two back surgeries last year has not progressed to the point where it's wise for him to tee it up at the Masters, which he has won four times. It will be the second time in the last three years that Woods has not played at Augusta National.

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Woods, who will attend the champions dinner Tuesday still had no timetable for when he would return to competition.

"After assessing the present condition of my back, and consulting with my medical team, I've decided it's prudent to miss this year's Masters," Woods said on his website.

"I've been hitting balls and training daily, but I'm not physically ready. I've said all along that this time I need to be cautious and do what's best for my long-term health and career.

"Unfortunately, playing Augusta next week wouldn't be the right decision."

Woods turned 40 in January. His last victory was in August 2013 and he hasn't played competitively since August.

Thompson, Miyazato tied at LPGA major

Lexi Thompson birdied the final hole for a four-under-par 68 and a share of the ANA Inspiration lead with Ai Miyazato at Rancho Mirage.

The 21-year-old American holed a 30-foot putt on the par-five 18th to reach seven-under 137 at Mission Hills in the LPGA Tour's first major championship of the year.

Miyazato, also tied for the first-round lead, followed her opening 67 with a 70. The 30-year-old Japanese player also finished with a birdie, hitting to two feet on the par-five ninth.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko was a stroke back along with Suzann Pettersen, In Gee Chun, Lizette Salas, Sung Hyun Park and Lee-Anne Pace.

Michelle Wie was in a group of five at five under.

Thompson won the event in 2014, relying on the power game that helped her escape trouble Friday when she strayed into the thick rough.

"If you're going to hit it crooked out here, you might as well hit it far and crooked, so you have a shorter shot in," Thompson said. "But it's very thick. I had some really nasty lies out there. You have to recover, play it smart and roll it up to the openings on the greens."

She's using a new big-headed putter and has scrapped her eyes-closed routine and narrowed her stance.

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"It's a dramatic change," Thompson said. "Just changing to the Cure putter and a little bit different stance over the putts has given me a lot of confidence. I'm rolling it a lot better, and having my caddie, Benji [Thompson, no relation], line me up has helped me out a lot too."

She won in Thailand in February for her seventh tour title.

Hoffman leads in Houston

Charley Hoffman shot a two-under 70 for a one-shot lead over Jamie Lovemark at the Houston Open.

Lovemark, a former NCAA champion at USC, is seeking his first PGA Tour title after having his career affected by back surgery. He was one of four players to shoot the day's low score, 68, under conditions that worsened as the afternoon went on, which helped protect Hoffman, at 10-under 134, from the field.

Dustin Johnson was among those chasing Hoffman, but Johnson dropped back to eight under with a bogey on 17, closing with a 71 after narrowly missing a 10-foot birdie putt on 18.

Johnson was in the last group to finish the round before darkness stopped play. A 93-minute morning weather delay brought on by rain and lightning in the area ensured that 27 players will have to complete the second round Saturday morning.

Champions Tour rainout

The opening round of the Champions Tour's Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic has been moved to Saturday because of heavy rain at Fallen Oak. Tournament officials hope to get two rounds in Saturday and finish on Sunday.

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