Tiger Woods has withdrawn from next week&aposs Masters after undergoing surgery to correct a lingering back issue.
The world number one has been troubled by a pinched nerve in recent months, and went under the knife on Monday.
Although the operation was described as a success, Woods will undergo a period of rest and rehabilitation and therefore be unable to compete at Augusta National when the Masters begins on April 10.
Doubts about the 38-year-old's participation at the tournament surfaced when Woods was forced to pull out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational a fortnight ago, and it has now been confirmed he will miss the first major of the season.
A statement from Woods on his official website read: "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."
Woods is a 14-time major champion and has won the Masters on four occasions.
However, his last triumph in a major came at the 2008 US Open.
There may yet be further high-profile withdrawals from the prestigious event at Augusta, with Phil Mickelson having been forced to pull out of last week's Texas Open due to pains in his side and Australian Jason Day doubtful with a thumb injury.