Tiger Woods hasn't missed a Masters since his debut as an amateur in 1995. Because of a recent back procedure, Golf's number one will not compete in the tour's first Major tournament of the year. Tiger has been battling back problems for about a year now. Because of a pinched nerve, he consulted with his physicians and decided it was time to do something about it.

He recently released this statement, according to Yahoo News:

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. It's tough right now, but I'm absolutely optimistic about the future. There are a couple records by two outstanding individuals and players that I hope one day to break. As I've said many times, Sam and Jack reached their milestones over an entire career. I plan to have a lot of years left in mine.

There is no doubt that Tiger is a competitor and a statement like this is no surprise. In recent tournaments the pain and frustration on Tiger's face has been obvious. Whenever the injury seemed to get better, something would happen that set back his progress. There were 3 tournaments last year in which Tiger had to withdraw from play. They were the Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens, the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The First Round of the Master's begins Thursday April 10th @ 3:00pm with Live Coverage on ESPN.