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Tiger Woods removed himself from consideration for the Ryder Cup team yesterday with a clear message that he is not healthy enough to play. One day after U.S. captain Tom Watson said he trusted Woods to give him the “straight skinny” on the condition of his back injury and his game, Woods said he called the 64-year-old captain to say he would not be available. The decision spares Watson from having to leave Woods off the team, and it eliminates a distraction over the next three weeks before Watson announces his three captain’s picks for the September 26 to 28 matches against Europe at Gleneagles. “I have already spoken to Tom about the Ryder Cup, and while I greatly appreciate his thinking about me for a possible captain’s pick, I took myself out of consideration,” Woods said in a statement on his website. “The U.S. team and the Ryder Cup mean too much to me not to be able to give it my best.” That he was even under consideration was mildly surprising. Woods’ best finish this year was a tie for 25th because of nagging back issues at the start of the year that led him to have surgery on March 31. He missed two majors, including the Masters for the first time, and did not return for three months. In the four events he played upon his return, he missed the cut twice, withdrew during the final round at Firestone and finished 69th in the British Open for his worst 72-hole result in a major. Woods said his recent back trouble was not related to the impinged nerve that led to surgery. Woods said he would not return until his World Challenge in Orlando, Florida, the first week of December.