By Mark Lamport-Stokes, LOS ANGELES, Reuters
Tiger Woods has decided to miss next week’s Barclays Classic in Harrison, New York, the first of four big-money playoff events that will crown the inaugural FedExCup champion.
The world number one says he is fatigued after winning back-to-back titles at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the U.S. PGA Championship in sapping heat.
“My intention was to compete in all four PGA Tour playoff events, including the inaugural Barclays Classic,” the 31-year-old American told his Web site (www.tigerwoods.com) on Friday. “But the truth is I’m just not ready. “Playing the last two weeks in the heat and humidity were mentally and physically draining.
“Although I managed to pull out victories in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship, my body is spent and I need a short break. Major championships are gruelling experiences and usually necessitate recovery time.”
The absence of Woods from the first playoff event is a setback for the PGA Tour, who have trumpeted the inaugural FedExCup series as “a new era in golf”.
Woods, however, plans to play in the final three playoff tournaments.
“This is in no way a knock on Barclays, their new event next week or the new FedExCup series, which I fully support,” he added.
“I just hope this extra week of rest will rejuvenate me for the final three playoff events and the Presidents Cup. It is still my goal to win the FedExCup and I am hopeful this will give me the best opportunity to finish the year strong.”
Ty Votaw, the PGA Tour’s executive vice-president for communications and international affairs, said in a statement: “We’re disappointed Tiger will not be playing the Barclays next week.
“It’s clear from Tiger’s statement he remains focused on winning the FedExCup. Whether he can do it will be one of the many exciting things our fans will be following over the next four weeks.”
The leading 144 players in the FedExCup standings after this week’s Wyndham Championship qualify for next week’s Barclays Classic.
The field will then be cut to 120 for the following week at the Deutsche Bank Championship before 70 players qualify for the Sept. 6-9 BMW Championship.
The playoffs end with the top 30 competing at the Sept 13-16 Tour Championship in Atlanta, Georgia where a US$10 million bonus in deferred compensation will be earned by the overall champion.