In little more than a month, Tiger Woods went from being tough to beat to having a tough time even playing.
Woods said Wednesday that soreness in his left elbow would keep him from defending his title next week in the AT&T National at Congressional, and that he would not compete again until the British Open at Muirfield on July 18-21.
The injury first became apparent during the opening round of the U.S. Open last week at Merion, when he was flexing his left wrist or dangling his left arm after shots out of the deep, punishing rough.
"I was examined after I returned home from the U.S. Open, and the doctors determined I have a left elbow strain," Woods said on his website. "I have been advised to take a few weeks off, rest and undergo treatment. I'll be ready to go for the British Open."
The AT&T National benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. This will be the third time since it began in 2007 that Woods has missed the tournament because of injury -- knee surgery in 2008, his Achilles tendon in 2011 and an elbow injury this year.
Tournament director Greg McLaughlin said Woods is expected to be at Congressional at least on Wednesday to take part in the opening ceremonies.
Woods' website said he felt minor discomfort before going to Merion and aggravated the area last week. On Friday he revealed that he first hurt his elbow at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. He won that tournament May 12 for his fourth PGA Tour title of the season.
However, the last two tournaments have produced surprising outcomes.
At The Memorial, where Woods was a five-time winner and the defending champion, he had the worst nine-hole score of his career with a 44 on the back nine that led to a third-round 79. He finished 20 shots behind Matt Kucher at Muirfield Village. At Merion, he finished at 13-over 293, tied for his highest 72-hole score in any major. Justin Rose won at 1-over 281.
Woods extended his regrets to AT&T, secondary sponsors and fans in Washington for not being able to play.
"The AT&T National means a lot to me and my foundation," he said. "It's especially difficult not defending at my own tournament. It's going to be a great event, and I look forward to being there to provide my support."