Tiger Woods revealed on Monday night that he has withdrawn from this week’s Safeway Open due to his game being ‘vulnerable’; the 14 time major winner was due to make his return to tour golf at the event.
Golf fans worldwide were yearning to see the 40-year-old on the course in a tour event, for the first time in over a year, at the PGA Tour’s 2016-2017 season opener in Napa, California.
Woods last played a tour event at the Wyndham Championship in August 2015, 416 days ago.
But Woods’ has now withdrawn, stating his game is not ready to play on tour:
“My game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be,” Woods confessed.
“I spent a week with the U.S. Ryder Cup Team, an honour and experience that inspired me even more to play.
“After a lot of hours, I knew I wasn’t ready to compete against the best golfers in the world,” he continued.
“I would like to apologise and send my regrets to Safeway, the Turkish Airlines Open, the fans in California and Turkey and those that had hoped to watch me compete on TV.”
“Everybody was so excited in the golf world. It’s hard to break that news. It really is,”
“He’s promised us that if he can he’ll be here next year,” Miller added.
Woods’ withdrawal will come as a shock to fans, less than a week after he committed to the tournament.
The show will go on, however, and there are big names aplenty still taking to the tee.
World number 12 Paul Casey is joined by Phil Mickelson (15) and Matt Kuchar (17).
Kevin Na and Emiliano Grillo will return to the Silverado Resort and Spa where they fought out a two-hole play-off last year; Argentine Grillo won the second hole to give him a victory in his first start as a PGA Tour member.
Many old faces are returning to a new face of the tournament. Previously the Frys.com Open, Safeway Inc have become the primary sponsor of the event and 2016 will be the first year of the newly named Safeway Open.
The course itself has not changed, however. The Silverado North course has played host to the event since 2014.
The par 72, 7203 yard, course has an 18 hole record of 63 – set by both Brendan Steele and Andrew Loupe at last year’s tournament.
This years’ winner will be rewarded with 500 FedExCup points and a winners’ payout of $1,080,000, a welcome start to the 2016-2017 PGA Tour season for any player.