Tiger Woods falls to No. 12 in world

Tiger Woods' prolonged winless drought has put the world's most popular golfer in a place he hasn't been since 1997 -- outside golf's top 10 rankings.

Woods, who last won 18 months ago in Australia, has fallen to No. 12 in the world rankings which were released Sunday evening.

The last time Woods was outside the top 10 was April 6, 1997 -- the week before a then-21-year-old Woods won the Masters for the first of his 14 major titles.

Woods began the season as the second-ranked golfer in the world but has continued to fall down the charts as he has dealt with prolonged health issues on top of poor results.

Woods was forced to withdraw from last week's The Players Championship during the first round as nagging leg injuries hampered his play.

The former No. 1's game had been showing signs of improvement before this most recent injury setback as he finished tied for fourth at this year's Masters. Coincidentally it was at the Masters where Woods tweaked his surgically repaired left knee which led to problems with his Achilles.

Woods has spent a record 623 weeks of his career atop the world golf rankings including his run that lasted from June 2005 until current top-ranked player Lee Westwood knocked Woods off last November.

Woods said on his website last week that he hopes to be back in time for this year's U.S. Open which runs June 16-19 at Congressional.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.