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Pat Perez doesn't think Tiger Woods plays again this year

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Fellow PGA Tour pro and fellow junior golf rival Pat Perez said on a radio show that he doesn't believe Tiger Woods will play again this season.

The 14-time major champion whose status is again unknown due to back problems is skipping this week's Honda Classic near his home town, and his return to competitive golf is unknown.

"He knows he can't beat anybody,'' Perez said on his SiriusXM PGA Tour radio show that is co-hosted by ESPN.com's Michael Collins. "He knows it. The guy shot 77 (on Feb. 2 during the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic). That guy can't shoot 77. What does he do the next day? Ah, my back's gone. He knows he can't beat anybody! I told you!

"He's not going to come out and play, and play poorly. I said this how many months ago? He's not going to do it for a long time.''

Woods, after a promising return at the Hero World Challenge in December following more than a year away from competitive golf, made it through just three rounds in 2017 before having to take a break again.

He missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, then withdrew following the first-round 77 in Dubai. Since then, he has withdrawn from last week's Genesis Open and this week's Honda Classic.

Woods has made no public comments since he said following the first round in Dubai that "he was not in pain.'' His agent, Mark Steinberg, said last week that Woods was advised by his doctors to remain in "a resting position,'' hence he skipped all activities associated with the Genesis Open, an event that now benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. That has not been a further update on Woods' status.

Perez, 40, has won twice on the PGA Tour and competed in amateur golf against Woods in Southern California. He attended Torrey Pines High School in San Diego and his father, Tony, has been longtime first tee starter at the Farmers Tournament, which Woods has won seven times.

"If he doesn't play Augusta, then it's over,'' Perez said. "I can tell you that right now: If he doesn't play Augusta, it's over.

"I said when he pulled out -- I said he was going to pull out in one of these events and you're not going to see him play five events. (Woods was scheduled to play four out of five weeks.) There's no way. I called it early. Nobody believed me.

"Personally, I don't think you'll see him again this year. I think he's out. The only thing he's going to care about is Augusta. ... It's not like he's got his favorite major courses after Augusta. I'm telling you, I don't think you're going to see this guy again. The guy can't show up to an interview. You think he thinks he can beat somebody? The guy can't stand during an interview."