"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," Tiger Woods said. "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. I hope to be ready for AT&T National, the next two majors and the rest of the year."
Woods was diagnosed with a Grade 1 mild medial collateral ligament sprain to his left knee and a mild strain to his left Achilles tendon suffered while hitting a second shot from under the Eisenhower tree at hole No. 17 during the third round at the Masters. He was unable to play the Wells Fargo Championship and withdrew after nine holes in the first round at THE PLAYERS Championship after re-injuring his leg on the opening tee shot.
“We are disappointed that Tiger Woods, a three-time champion, will not be able to play in the 2011 U.S. Open,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “We completely understand that he is not fully recovered from his injuries and we wish him a speedy recovery. The excitement that he generates will be missed, but the Blue Course at Congressional Country Club will surely provide an excellent test for the 156 world-class players in the field of this national championship.”
Woods has played in 15 consecutive U.S. Opens starting with his first appearance in 1996. He won the national championship in 2000, 2002 and 2008. The alternate who will take his place is 23-year-old amateur Michael Whitehead from Sugar Land, Texas, who competed in sectional qualifying on June 6 at Dallas Athletic Club’s Blue Course. Whitehead shot rounds of 68-68—136 to earn the first alternate position. "It's been a frustrating and difficult year, but I'm committed to my long-term health," Woods said. "I want to thank the fans for their encouragement and support. I am truly grateful and will be back playing when I can."
Anders Hansen also withdrew because of an injury. The alternate who will take his place is Jason Dufner, who competed in sectional qualifying on June 6 at Hawks Ridge G.C. in Ball Ground, Ga. Dufner shot 69-64—133 to earn the first alternate position.