Tiger Woods pulled out of the U.S. Open on Tuesday because of nagging issues with his left leg, leaving him uncertain how soon he can resume his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record for major titles.
It will be the first time Woods has missed the U.S. Open since 1994, when he had just graduated high school.
“I am extremely disappointed that I won’t be playing in the U.S. Open, but it’s time for me to listen to my doctors and focus on the future,” Woods said on his website. “I was hopeful that I could play, but if I did, I risk further damage to my left leg. My knee and Achilles tendon are not fully healed.”
Woods said he hoped to be ready for the AT&T National, which starts June 30 at Aronomink, and the next two majors. Then again, he said two weeks ago he would do everything possible to be ready for the U.S. Open, which is far more significant.
The U.S. Open starts June 16 at Congressional, where Woods won the AT&T National two years ago and tied for 19th when the U.S. Open was last played there in 1997.
Woods was replaced by Michael Whitehead, a senior at Rice who was first alternate from the Dallas qualifier. Whitehead had to win a playoff just to get out of the first stage of 18-hole qualifying, and was stunned to get the news.
“They said on the phone that Tiger has withdrawn from the Open,” Whitehead said. “So, ‘Thanks, Tiger.’ I guess I’m glad he was listening to his doctors.”