Fourteen-time Major Champion Tiger Woods has been forced to withdraw from the US Masters at Augusta National following back surgery

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Fourteen-time Major Champion Tiger Woods has been forced to withdraw from the US Masters at Augusta National following surgery on a pinched nerve in his back.

Woods pulled out of the Honda Classic during round four with back spasms and missed the Arnold Palmer Invitational two weeks later with the same affliction.

He appeared at an event at the start of last week and offered a less-than-positive prognosis on his back, and confirmed the news Masters tournament organisers were dreading on Tuesday.

“After attempting to get ready for the Masters, and failing to make the necessary progress, I decided, in consultation with my doctors, to have this procedure done.

“I’d like to express my disappointment to the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I will not be at the Masters. It’s a week that’s very special to me. It also looks like I’ll be forced to miss several upcoming tournaments to focus on my rehabilitation and getting healthy.

“I’d also like to thank the fans for their support and concern. It’s very kind and greatly appreciated. This is frustrating, but it’s something my doctors advised me to do for my immediate and long-term health.”

The four-time Masters champion – who had played in every Masters since 1995 – is looking increasingly unlikely to beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 Major Championship.