May 26, 2006

Grieving Woods decides to skip Memorial

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Tiger Woods was a notable absentee
when the field was confirmed on Friday for next week's Memorial
tournament in Dublin, Ohio, the PGA Tour said.

The world number one, whose father Earl died earlier this
month after a long battle with cancer, has not played
competitive golf since the U.S. Masters seven weeks ago.

American Woods has repeatedly said he was unlikely to
return to action until the June 15-18 U.S. Open at Winged Foot
in Mamaroneck, New York.

His decision not to play at the Jack Nicklaus-hosted
Memorial means he will go into the second major championship of
the year following a nine-week break, the longest of his

Woods launched his 2006 campaign after taking an extended
layoff over Christmas and New Year to recharge his batteries
and spend valuable time with his father.

He did not touch a club for 24 days, "the longest I've ever
gone," the 30-year-old said at the time.

A three-times winner of the prestigious Memorial, Woods
will miss the tournament for the first time in 10 years.

He won the title three years in a row from 1999 and has
finished no worse than joint fourth since 2002.

Next week's event has attracted seven of the world's top 10
players, with eighth-ranked American David Toms and Britain's
Luke Donald (10th) the other absentees.

American Bart Bryant will defend the Memorial title he
clinched by a stroke at Muirfield Village Golf Club last year.

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)