Comeback Delayed: Tiger Woods Pulls Out of Safeway Open

Tiger Woods looks on from the sidelines during an NCAA football game between the Washington State Cougars and Stanford Cardinal, at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California, on October 8, 2016

The long-awaited comeback of Tiger Woods waits some more.

The 14-time major winner pulled out of this week’s Safeway Open just days before the players tee off.

“After a lot of soul searching and honest reflection, I know that I am not yet ready to play on the PGA TOUR or compete in Turkey,” Woods explained on his website. “My health is good, and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be.”

Woods pulled out of the Turkish Airlines Open in addition to the pro-am event in California.

Oddsmakers surprisingly listed Woods at 40-1 to win this week’s tournament despite his lengthy absence. The tournament had paired Woods with longtime rival Phil Mickelson and basketball star Stephen Curry for the first two rounds.

Woods wrote on his website:

I was going to Safeway, I had every intention of playing, or I wouldn’t have committed. I spent a week with the U.S. Ryder Cup Team, an honor and experience that inspired me even more to play. I practiced the last several days in California, but after a lot of hours, I knew I wasn’t ready to compete against the best golfers in the world. I will continue to work hard, and plan to play at my foundation’s event, the Hero World Challenge, in Albany.

I would like to apologize and send my regrets to Safeway, the Turkish Airlines Open, the fans in California and Turkey and those that had hoped to watch me compete on TV. This isn’t what I wanted to happen, but I will continue to strive to be able to play tournament golf. I’m close, and I won’t stop until I get there.

Woods, currently ranked 786th in the world, last competed nearly 14 months ago at the Wyndham Championship.