Tiger Woods withdrew from the U.S. Open on Tuesday, saying that his damaged right leg needs more time to get stronger to contend in the majors.
Woods made a surprise return at the Masters, just 14 months after he broke bones in his right leg and ankle in a February 2021 car crash outside Los Angeles. He made the cut at Augusta National, then played the PGA Championship at Southern Hills.
Even though he made another cut, Woods was limping badly on Saturday and withdrew after the third round, the first time he had withdrawn on the weekend at a major.
Woods posted Tuesday on social media, “My body needs more time to get stronger for major championship golf.”
He said he hopes to be ready to play in a charity pro-am event in Ireland ahead of the British Open at St. Andrews, where he won two of his three claret jugs.
This will be the sixth time in the last 12 years Woods does not play the U.S. Open, which he has won three times, most recently at Torrey Pines in 2008 when he had a double stress fracture in his left leg and shredded knee ligaments that required reconstructive surgery when the event was over.
He last played in 2020 at Winged Foot and missed the cut.
Before the previous two majors, Woods sent the internet buzzing, with private plane tracking sites indicating he was at Augusta National and Southern Hills a week or so early for a scouting trip, a clear sign he was thinking about playing.
There was no such flight to Boston this time. Woods last competed at The Country Club at Brookline in 1999, when he won his singles match against Andrew Coltart as part of an amazing American rally to win the Ryder Cup.
“We’re disappointed we won’t see him in Boston,” said Mike Whan, the CEO of the USGA. “But personally, I’m happy for him that he’s looking after his health. I’d rather see Tiger long-term than just in the 2022 U.S. Open.”
Woods always had his sights on St. Andrews, even after he played in the Masters. He said after the Masters he wasn’t sure whether he could play in the PGA Championship or the U.S. Open, but he would be at the British Open.
The Old Course is relatively flat, the easiest of the four majors to walk.