(AP) — Tiger Woods decided Friday not to play in the Memorial as he recovers from knee surgery, meaning he likely will go to the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines without having played a tournament in two months.
Woods, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee April 15, was hopeful of playing before the U.S. Open. But his office notified the PGA Tour that he would not enter the Memorial, a tour official said.
This is the second time in three years that Woods has had a two-month layoff before a major championship. He missed nine weeks in 2006 while coping with the death of his father, returning to the U.S. Open at Winged Foot and missing the cut for the only time in a major.
“Tiger was looking forward to playing at the Memorial,” said Mark Steinberg, his agent at IMG. “But unfortunately, the timing of his recovery will not allow him to do so.”
The only other tournament before the U.S. Open is the Stanford St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., although Woods never has played the week before a U.S. Open and has never played in Memphis.
Speaking last week to promote the BMW Championship, Woods said the layoff with his knee surgery and missing time after his father died were completely different situations.
“Even when I came back for the Open, I probably wasn’t ready to play yet,” he said. “I was eager to get back and play and be in a competitive environment, but I wasn’t ready to deal with all the things you have to deal with inside the ropes and compete and play, and it showed. And I played terrible. This time around, it’s totally different.
“I’m just trying to get the leg organized enough to where I can play.”
Memorial officials were making travel arrangements for Woods into Friday afternoon, still uncertain if he would play. Along with missing Woods, they learned at the 5 p.m. deadline that Adam Scott had changed his mind and would not play.
The tournament, which starts Thursday at Muirfield Village, still has eight of the top 10 in the world rankings.
“We were excited to have Tiger play this year, but understand he still has some recuperating to do,” tournament director Dan Sullivan said.
Woods last played at the Masters, where he finished three shots behind Trevor Immelman. He had surgery two days later, the second time in five years on his left knee, to clean out some cartilage.
One thing Woods has in his favor is the U.S. Open being held at Torrey Pines, where he has won more than any other course. He won the Buick Invitational there for the fourth straight time, and sixth overall, by a tournament-record eight shots in January. He also won a Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines as a teenager.
“The golf course will be set up fair and it will be set up difficult,” Woods said last week. “And you’re going to have to play well. You can’t just scrape around that golf course and win a U.S. Open.”