Tiger Woods did not participate in the Masters for the first time in 20 years. Now, it appears that the golfer could miss the second major championship of 2014.
On April 1, Woods announced that he successfully underwent a microdiscectomy to repair a pinched nerve. The injury has kept the 38-year-old out of action since March 9, and according to friend and fellow golfer Notah Begay, it will likely force him to miss the 2014 U.S. Open.
"I’ve been in contact with him this week. He missed being at Augusta and certainly was watching the tournament," Begay told CBS Radio on April 14. "I think he needs to give [his rehab] a minimum of 90 days to make sure that scar tissue heals up appropriately and he doesn’t run the risk of re-injuring it. So that would push him past the U.S. Open."
Woods has yet to give an official timetable for his return. The U.S. Open is set to begin on June 12, so he could be out of action for at least another two months. Despite the uncertain nature of Woods’s availability for the event, he’s still listed as one of the favorites to win the major. Bovada.lv lists his odds at 10/1, along with Rory McIlroy.
The longer Woods is out, the more difficult it will be for him to match Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors. Woods has 14 major victories in his career, but hasn’t gotten a win since the 2008 U.S. Open. Nicklaus won his final major when he was 46 years old, though the last major he won before that came at age 38. Woods will turn 39 on Dec. 30.
It’s not only Woods that is feeling the effects of his injury. The sport of golf sorely misses his presence. Without Woods, the Masters registered its worst television ratings in 21 years. The first two days of the tournament saw a 40 percent decrease in viewership, compared to last year, according to Forbes. Saturday’s ratings dipped by 30 percent, and Sunday’s ratings were down 25 percent.
In an article on golf.com, Josh Sens attempted to quantify what Woods’s absence could mean to the sport, in terms of earnings. Sens estimated that, without Woods, the sport could lose $15 billion, based on valuing the golf industry at $68.8 billion.
Following the U.S. Open, the 2014 Open Championship is scheduled for July 17. Woods is still looking for his first win this year.