NASSAU – Tiger Woods was out before he was officially back, withdrawing Monday from his Hero World Challenge with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
The Hero World Challenge was to be the start of a December in golf ruled by Woods, who also has a made-for-television match next weekend, followed by the PNC Championship with his 13-year-old son on Dec. 17-18.
Two of those are still on his schedule. The foot injury was a surprise and is a big setback for those who haven't seen Woods play since July at St. Andrews. The Hero World Challenge has network coverage on NBC for the weekend.
“In preparation and practice for this week’s Hero World Challenge, I’ve developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot, which is making it difficult to walk,” Woods said on Twitter. "After consulting with my doctors and trainers, I have decided to withdraw this week and focus on my hosting duties. My plan is still to compete in The Match and the PNC Championship.”
The Match is Dec. 10 with Rory McIlroy as his partner competing in a 12-hole match against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
Woods has played only three tournaments this year because of a right leg weakened by a February 2021 car crash outside Los Angeles that shattered so many bones that Woods said doctors contemplated amputation.
A year ago in the Bahamas, he hit drivers on the back end of the range at Albany Golf Club, sparking speculation he might return. He played the PNC Championship with son Charlie and they finished second by one shot.
Woods then played the Masters, where he finished all four rounds at Augusta National, a tough walk with healthy legs. He made the cut in the PGA Championship at Southern Hills, only to withdraw after the third round.
His last appearance was the British Open at St. Andrews, where he missed the cut.
Woods has said he would have a limited schedule going forward, and this year was an example of what to expect. The World Challenge would have been one of the easier walks on the flat terrain of Albany.
The 20-man field features 15 of the top 20 players in the world. Woods was replaced by Austria-born Sepp Straka, who went to Georgia. Earlier, Hideki Matsuyama withdrew with injury and was replaced by Corey Conners.
Woods is No. 1,277 in the world ranking and is exempt as the tournament host. Being replaced by Straka (No. 29) means the entire 20-man field is among the top 33 in the ranking. The strength of field increases even as TV ratings are sure to take a hit.
AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports