Tiger Woods' 10-year absence from Los Angeles' only PGA Tour stop is going to be at least 11 years. Woods announced on his website Friday that he is skipping next week's Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club and also the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., a course a half-hour from his home in Jupiter Beach.
"My doctors have advised me not to play the next two weeks, to continue my treatment and to let my back calm down," Woods said. "This is not what I was hoping for or expecting. I am extremely disappointed to miss the Genesis Open, a tournament that benefits my foundation, and The Honda Classic, my hometown event. I would like to thank Genesis for their support, and I know we will have an outstanding week."
Woods, 41, is expected to be in Los Angeles next week to support the tournament as an ambassador. There is no indication when he might rejoin the Tour.
This is the latest setback for Woods in what could kindly be called a disappointing comeback after being off the Tour for almost a year and a half because of back problems.
Woods returned to the Tour three weeks ago at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego at Torrey Pines. It was a less-than-stellar return, however: Woods shot an opening-round 76 and then an even-par 72, missing the cut.
He then made the long trip to the United Arab Emirates to play in the Dubai Desert Classic, where he shot an opening-round 77 and withdrew the next day because of back spasms.
Things were looking like Woods would skip the Genesis Open because of a combination of a bad back, poor play and a course he's never played well. He made it official Friday.
"I've always loved playing Riv," Woods said at a news conference last month. "I just never played it well. It's the only reason [I've been skipping it all these years.]"
Woods made it clear that his biggest priority remained playing — and winning — the Masters. Given his play of late, that will be a very tall order. The Masters will be played April 6-9.
It's unclear whether this latest development puts Woods' regular participation on the Tour in jeopardy. Back troubles remain the most unpredictable of injuries.
"I suspect since he's playing his whole life that there is a lot of wear and tear on his lower back, and you just get injured," Dr. David R. McAllister, chief of sports medicine services at UCLA's Geffen School of Medicine, told The Times earlier this month. McAllister was speaking in general, as he has never examined Woods.
"One thing is, he's a pretty tough competitor," McAllister said. "Guys like him, if there is a chance he can play, he will. But his body may not comply with his mind's wishes."
12:57 p.m.: An earlier version of this story said Woods hadn't played in L.A. for 25 years. It was actually 10 years.
8:30 a.m.: This article was updated throughout with staff reporting.