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Tiger Woods withdraws from Safeway Open, delaying return to golf

Tiger Woods withdraws from Safeway Open, delaying return to golf
Tiger Woods looks on during the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., on Oct. 1. (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)

Three days after Tiger Woods committed to make his long-awaited return to golf at this week's Safeway Open, he abruptly withdrew from the tournament Monday.

Woods, who has undergone three surgeries on his back in the last 20 months, hasn't played since August 2015.

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"After a lot of soul searching and honest reflection, I know that I am not yet ready to play on the PGA Tour," Woods said in a statement posted on his website. "My health is good, and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be."

Woods had been scheduled to play a pro-am Wednesday before the season-opening tournament at the Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., started Thursday.

In the statement, Woods said he had every intention of playing in the tournament when he committed last week.

"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," Woods said. "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."

He plans to play at the Hero World Challenge in December.

Twitter: @nathanfenno

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