The world's top-ranked golfer, American Tiger Woods, has withdrawn from the sport's first major championship of the year after undergoing back surgery.
The 38-year-old Woods said Tuesday he has dropped out of next week's Masters tournament in the southern U.S. city of Augusta, Georgia. He said he underwent a successful operation on Monday to correct a pinched nerve that has been bothering him for several months, but now faces several weeks of rest and rehabilitation.
Woods has won 14 major golf championships and has been pursuing the record of 18 held by retired U.S. golfer Jack Nicklaus. Woods has won several tournaments in the past couple years, but has not captured a major championship since the U.S. Open in 2008.
Woods has played in every Masters since 1995, when he was an amateur. But with his withdrawal this year, he will have missed all four of the world's top championships at one time or another because of injury.