It was never really 'will he, won't he' but an announcement on his website on April 1 confirmed that Tiger is to miss the 2016 Masters

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This is probably not really news to many golf fans, but a post on his website on April 1 (no April Fool’s wind-up, this one!) has confirmed that Tiger is to miss the 2016 Masters, and will not be teeing it up in a bid for a fifth Green Jacket this coming Thursday at Augusta National.

Despite video clips of him hitting a few balls on social media channels recently – albeit somewhat tentatively in the eyes of many – there was little word out there in the public domain to make anyone really believe that a return to the course was likely any time soon, least of all for the season’s opening Major.

“After assessing the present condition of my back, and consulting with my medical team, I’ve decided it’s prudent to miss this year’s Masters,” Tiger confirmed on his website. “I’ve been hitting balls and training daily, but I’m not physically ready. I’ve said all along that this time I need to be cautious and do what’s best for my long-term health and career.

“Unfortunately, playing Augusta next week wouldn’t be the right decision. I’m absolutely making progress, and I’m really happy with how far I’ve come, but I still have no timetable to return to competitive golf.”

This will be just the second time Tiger has missed The Masters since making his debut as an amateur in 1995, but worryingly, both absences from golf’s curtain-raising Major have come in the last three years, with Tiger also sitting out the 2014 staging on doctors’ advice following back surgery.

Woods has not now played competitively since last August’s Wyndham Championship where he started brightly and went on to record his only Top 10 of the season, but going forwards the only golf etched in his diary with any certainty is September’s Ryder Cup at Hazeltine where he will join Davis Love’s vice-captaincy team.