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No Joke: Tiger Woods To Miss First Masters Tournament Of His Career

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No Joke: Tiger Woods To Miss First Masters Tournament Of His Career

A cruel April Fools' joke it was not.

Tiger Woods, the 4-time Masters champion and holder of 14 Major titles, will miss the 2014 edition following surgery on a pinched nerve.

The announcement was made on Woods' official website, noting the injury had been bothering the golfer for several months.

"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," Woods said through his website. He will begin intensive rehabilitation and soft-tissue treatment within the next week. He could begin practicing within a month.

Woods has suffered numerous injuries over the years, some of which have kept him out of tournaments altogether. He once famously came from behind to win the 2008 U.S. Open -- two days later, Woods underwent knee surgery that kept him out for the rest of the year.

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Woods has failed to win a Major title since his 2009 infidelity scandal, but the sport of golf -- not just Tiger Woods -- has also suffered in his absences. According to Nielsen, television ratings have at times dropped dramatically when Woods is either not playing in a PGA Tournament or when not in contention on a tournament's final day.

ESPN, along with Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) subsidiaries Golf Channel and NBC are three of the most prominent broadcasters of golf. Commercials for the Masters, considered the highest prize in the sport's profession, begin airing as early as February for the April tournament. Some have even held conspiracy theories that CBS (NYSE: CBS) bent the rules to let Woods continuing playing in 2013.

Nike (NYSE: NKE) could also suffer, as well. Woods is one of the most recognizable athletes -- and brands -- in the world. His identity is as tied to the Nike brand as anything else, from his clothing apparel to golf balls.

Posted-In: CBS Darren Rovell ESPN Masters Tournament NBC nielsenNews Topics Best of Benzinga

 

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