Tiger Woods ended the speculation Wednesday by informing the PGA of America that he is taking himself out of consideration for a Ryder Cup spot.
“While I greatly appreciate Tom (Watson) thinking about me for a possible captain’s pick, I must take myself out of consideration,” he said in a release. “I’ve been told by my doctors and trainer that my back muscles need to be rehabilitated and healed. They’ve advised me not to play or practice now.
“I’m extremely disappointed that I won’t be ready for the competition. The U.S. team and the Ryder Cup mean too much to me not to be able to give it my best. I’ll be cheering for the U.S. team. I think we have an outstanding squad going into the matches.”
Later, in a statement released on his website, Woods said that he would not return to competition until the Dec. 4-7 World Challenge event in Orlando, Fla., the tournament that benefits his foundation. Woods was scheduled to play in friend Notah Begay's NB3 Foundation Challenge on Aug. 27 in New York and the Americas Golf Cup in Argentina on Oct. 23-26 with Matt Kuchar. Begay told "Golf Central" on Wednesday that Woods now will not play his charity event in two weeks.
Watson praised Woods for taking the “high road” in announcing his decision now, rather than waiting until the Sept. 2 deadline. (Click here for final U.S. Ryder Cup standings)
“My primary wish is for Tiger to be healthy and competitive, and I hope that he’ll return to the game very soon,” Watson said. “Of course, I’m disappointed that Tiger Woods has asked not to be considered for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, and his health is not where he would like it to be.”
Woods last missed a Ryder Cup in 2008, when he sat out because of knee surgery. The Americans won in a blowout at Valhalla, their only victory in the event since 1999.
Nine spots on the U.S. team were finalized after the PGA Championship: Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Jimmy Walker, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Zach Johnson.
Watson will make his three wild-card picks on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. ET, the day after the Deutsche Bank Championship. The announcement will be broadcast live on Golf Channel.
Team Europe’s qualification process doesn’t end until Aug. 31, but Paul McGinley will reveal his three captain’s picks on the same day as Watson.
The 40th Ryder Cup will be held Sept. 26-28 at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland.