Houston: Former world number one and three-time champion Tiger Woods has pulled out of the prestigious British Open golf championship, citing leg injuries he sustained in May.

Woods announced that he has been advised by doctors not to play in the tournament, which begins July 14 at Royal St George's.

He last played competitive golf on May 12 at The Players Championship, where he lasted nine holes.

"Unfortunately, I've been advised that I should not play in the British Open," Woods said in a statement on his official website.

"As I stated at the AT&T National, I am only going to come back when I'm 100 percent ready. I do not want to risk further injury.

That's different for me, but I'm being smarter this time. I'm very disappointed and want to express my regrets to the British Open fans," he added.

Woods personally contacted Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A, to explain why would be unable to play.

In April, 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, both of which he suffered while hitting a second shot from under the Eisenhower tree at hole No.17 during the third round at the Masters.

Woods was unable to play in the Wells Fargo Championship and withdrew after nine holes in the first round at The Players Championship after injuring his leg on the opening tee shot again.

He also did not compete at the AT&T National last week.

"In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have competed at The Players but it's a big event, and I wanted to be there to support the tour," Woods said.

Woods, who has undergone four knee operations and has not won since the 2009 Australian Masters, just before the eruption of a massive sex scandal that ended his marriage and his iconic image.

After resuming his career, Woods began working on changes to his swing, only to be struck time and again by injuries.

"I think my best years are still ahead of me, and I'm very confident and optimistic about the future."

Woods has plunged to 17th in the rankings, seventh among Americans, but he remains a top draw for golf fans. American Jason Dufner will replace Woods in the British Open, an event that Woods won in 2000, 2005 and 2006.

(Agencies)