Tributes are pouring in from all over the golfing world tonight with the shock news that Tiger Woods has officially brought down the curtain on his illustrious career by announcing his retirement in a statement on his official website  

Woods manager Mark Steinberg confirmed that the four time Masters champion visited Augusta National today for what was described as an "emotional" meeting with friend and Chairman Billy Payne to inform him personally of his decision.

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In the statement Woods refers the futile efforts to get his game in shape to play the US Masters but that ultimately led to his decision to call time on his career. "I desperately wanted to compete at Augusta next week, but without satisfactory preparation I must finally admit this is now a bridge too far," Woods said.

Reacting to the news Jack Nicklaus said "I've spoken to Tiger a number of times over the past few weeks, and though it's not unexpected, the news that the golfing world is losing one of it's greatest champions is indeed very sad. I was one of his biggest fans."

Woods is due to host a press conference in Florida at 11am EDT tomorrow.
Update: Video of Tiger Woods Press Conference To Announce Retirement. 

I'll have much more reaction as the dust settles but for now here's the statement as it appears on A copy of the text in the statement is below.

Statement from Tiger Woods:
It is with great regret and sadness that I must today announce my retirement from professional golf. My constant battles with injury have finally taken an irreversible toll on my body and game and I no longer find myself in a position to compete at the level where I need and expect to be; that is at the highest level.  I desperately wanted to compete at Augusta next week, but without satisfactory preparation I must finally admit this is now a bridge too far.
After lengthy discussions with Lindsey, my family and close friends, I feel that now the time is right to step away from the game I love. After almost 19 years as a touring professional, I feel honored and blessed both to have been given and achieved so much. I look forward now to spending more time with my children Sam and Charlie and encouraging them to achieve whatever it is they desire to be, just as my father did with me. My thoughts and prayers are also with my Dad today.
I am not looking at this as an end, but as the start of a new and exciting chapter in my life; a time to give back to those who have given their time to help me achieve so much in my career.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my supporters, sponsors, the PGA Tour and all my friends within the game.  I look forward to getting the opportunity over the coming months to meeting and thanking as many of you as possible in person.
I will make further announcements in due course regarding the important work of the Tiger Woods Foundation I intend to devote more time to, but for now, a heartfelt thanks to you all. 

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