Golf-Wise withdraws from Masters to focus on mental health

FILE PHOTO: Feb 23, 2023; Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA; Aaron Wise plays his shot from the seventh tee during the first round of the Honda Classic golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Former PGA Tour rookie of the year Aaron Wise said on Friday he had decided to withdraw from next week's Masters to focus on his mental health.

The 26-year-old American has competed in the Masters once before, finishing solo 17th in 2019, and earned a spot in this year's field at Augusta National by ending 2022 inside the top 50 of the world rankings.

"Regretfully I am withdrawing from The Masters today," Wise wrote on Instagram. "Golf is just as much a mental game as it is one of physical skill, and the mental piece of it has been a struggle for me recently.

"I don't take the significance of playing at Augusta lightly, but I know that I need to take some time away to focus on my mental health so I can get back to competing at a level I am proud of.

"This hurts but it's needed. See you all soon."

The Masters begins on April 6.

World number 45 Wise most recently competed at last week's Match Play event in Austin where he went 1-2 in group play and failed to reach the knockout rounds. He has one top-10 finish and four missed cuts in 11 PGA Tour starts this season.

Wise was PGA Tour rookie of the year in 2018 after four top 10 finishes in 29 starts -- including a win at the AT&T Byron Nelson -- and reached the season-ending Tour Championship.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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