Frustrated Tiger Woods says it’s ‘too soon’ to make plans for the Masters

Tiger Woods did not say as much, but his discouraging words and body language during a Monday press conference seemed to indicate the 14-time major champion will not make it to the first tee in Augusta in April.

Tiger Woods, appearing weary and dispirited, said Monday he did not know yet whether his ailing back would allow him to play in the Masters next month.

"For Augusta it’s actually still a little too soon, to be honest with you, and that’s kind of a frustrating thing about this," Woods said during a press conference in downtown Washington to announce a new sponsor for his annual D.C.-area PGA Tour tournament. "I’ve had a couple weeks off and getting treatment and just working on trying to get it ready for Augusta and as of right now, it’s still too soon which is, as I said, it’s very frustrating."

Woods, who said he hurt his back in August, had to withdraw from the Honda Classic earlier this month when it spasmed as it had during the FedExCup series, gutted it out through 72 painful holes at Doral, and was unable to defend his 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational title last week and go for his ninth win at Bay Hill. His aching back allows Woods to work only on his short game, according to Washington Post reporter Barry Svrluga.

The questions of the hour -- and every minute of every day on the PGA Tour -- are whether the 14-time major champion will be able to take the field on April 10 to attempt to win his fifth green jacket, and if not, what does that portend for the rest of the 2014 season as well as his career?

The notoriously guarded world No. 1 did not seem his cagey self as he fielded a few queries about the state of his health. Indeed, the countenance of the winner of 79 tour competitions reflected the look of despair he wore during his post-sex scandal made-for-TV mea culpa back in February 2010.

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The view from a vantage far removed from Bethesda, Md., where Tiger’s tourney is slated for June 23-June 29 at Congressional, would be that the men’s first major of the year will have to proceed without golf’s biggest draw and that Woods’ major-less streak will continue until at least the U.S. Open in June at Pinehurst.

Oh, yeah, Quicken Loans signed a multi-year agreement to become the title sponsor of the newly named (what else?) Quicken Loans National. The tour also designated the retail mortgage lender the "Official Mortgage Sponsor of the PGA Tour and Champions Tour." So that happened.

AT&T had sponsored the event since 2007.

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