Tiger Woods, the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world, said Tuesday that he underwent a back operation and that, as a result, he will not be able to participate in the April 10-13 Masters, the tournament he has won four times.

Woods underwent a "successful microdiscectomy" to relieve a pinched nerve that had plagued him for months, inhibiting his golfing performance. The operation was performed on Monday in Park City, Utah, by neurosurgeon Charles Rich, the golfing champ said on his Web site.

Woods won the Masters in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005.

"After attempting to get ready for the Masters, and failing to make the necessary progress, I decided, in consultation with my doctors, to have this procedure done," said Woods, 38.

"I'd like to express my disappointment to the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I will not be at the Masters. It's a week that's very special to me. It also looks like I'll be forced to miss several upcoming tournaments to focus on my rehabilitation and getting healthy."

Woods will begin rehabilitative therapy within a week. According to his doctors, he will be able to begin playing his short game again in three weeks. EFE