Injured Tiger Woods pulls out of U.S. Open

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Tiger Woods has ruled himself out of next week’s U.S. Open because of injury, he announced on Tuesday.

The 14-time major winner hurt his left knee and Achilles tendon during the Masters at Augusta in April and said he was withdrawing from the U.S. Open at Congressional in Maryland because he did not want to risk further damage.

“I am extremely disappointed that I won’t be playing in the U.S. Open, but it’s time for me to listen to my doctors and focus on the future,” Woods said in a statement on his website.

“I was hopeful that I could play, but if I did, I risk further damage to my left leg. My knee and Achilles tendon are not fully healed.”

The former world number one withdrew from the Players Championship last month after completing just nine holes and had been wearing a protective boot in the hope of being able to take his place in the second major of 2011.

“It’s been a frustrating and difficult year, but I’m committed to my long-term health,” said Woods, who has slipped to 15th in the world rankings.

Woods, who needs four more major titles to match the record of 18 held by Jack Nicklaus, has not won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open nor any tournament worldwide in nearly 19 months.

Apart from his injury woes, he has also been trying to rebuild his golf swing and his private life after the breakup of his marriage.

Woods, 35, said he was confident of returning to competition later this year, possibly as early as next month.

“I hope to be ready for AT&T National, the next two majors and the rest of the year,” he said.