By Frank Pingue
REUTERS - Tiger Woods will miss next week's U.S. Masters due to his troublesome back and has no timetable for his return to competitive golf, the former world number one said on Friday.
It will be only the third time Woods has missed the year's first major since he first competed at Augusta National in 1995. The four-times champion did not play at the Masters in 2014 or 2016 and tied for 17th in 2015.
"I did about everything I could to play, but my back rehabilitation didn't allow me the time to get tournament ready," Woods said in a statement on his website.
"I have no timetable for my return, but I will continue my diligent effort to recover, and want to get back out there as soon as possible."
The 14-times major winner said he would still be at Augusta National's clubhouse on Tuesday for the annual Champions Dinner ahead of the April 6-9 Masters.
Woods returned to the PGA Tour in January after a 17-month absence following back surgery but has not played a tournament since he pulled out of a European Tour event in Dubai because of a back spasm in early February.
He missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open after shooting rounds of 76 and 72 and shot an opening-round 77 a week later in Dubai.
Now 41, Woods has not won a major title since he clinched the 14th of his career at the 2008 U.S. Open and his form has slumped dramatically as he has battled injury in recent years.
This year's Masters marks the 20th anniversary of Woods winning the first of his four Green Jackets at Augusta National. He also won the title in 2001, 2002 and 2005.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing)