With a fresh injury scare, Tiger Woods has cast doubt on whether he will be able to play in front of Melbourne fans when the Presidents Cup heads to Melbourne in December.
The 15-time major winner is captain of the 12-man American team and has confirmed he will do everything possible to become a rare playing skipper at Royal Melbourne.
Both the International and American teams are comprised of eight qualifiers and four wildcards.
But on Friday, 43-year-old Woods withdrew injured from the US PGA Tour’s Northern Trust event in New Jersey, citing a “mild oblique strain”.
Woods shot four-over-par 75 on Thursday before withdrawing Friday morning.
It is Woods’ first withdrawal from a tournament worldwide since he pulled out before the second round of the 2017 Dubai Desert Classic due to back spasms.
“Due to a mild oblique strain that led to pain and stiffness, I have to withdraw from the Northern Trust,” Woods said in a statement.
I went for treatment early Friday morning, but unfortunately I’m still unable to compete …’’
“I remain hopeful I can compete next week at the BMW Championship.”
Woods is 12th on the American team’s Presidents Cup standings and will not make the eight qualifiers finalised next week.
Although he has until early November before the wildcards are chosen, his schedule may not allow picking himself.
Woods will have considerable work at the BMW Championship to climb inside the top 30 on the FedEx Cup standings who qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship.
Should he fail to do that, Woods is only scheduled to play one more full-field tournament between now and December.
Woods has only committed to a new US PGA Tour event in Japan in October, while he will also tee up in his foundation’s 18-man unofficial event in the Bahamas the week before travelling to Melbourne.
Woods’ health and form has steadily declined since April.
Leading into the US PGA Tour’s play-offs, he had only played four tournaments since winning the Masters at Augusta.
He missed the cut in two of those events – the US PGA Championship and the British Open.
The Northern Trust is the second time this year injuries have prevented Woods from playing.
He pulled out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March – although that was several days before the tournament.