JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Tiger Woods pulled out of the U.S. Open on Tuesday because of lingering issues with his left leg, leaving him uncertain how soon he can continue his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record for major titles.

It will be the first time Woods has missed the U.S. Open since 1994, when he had just graduated from high school.

“I am extremely disappointed that I won’t be playing in the U.S. Open, but it’s time for me to listen to my doctors and focus on the future,” Woods said on his website. “I was hopeful that I could play, but if I did, I risk further damage to my left leg. My knee and Achilles tendon are not fully healed.”

Woods said he hoped to be ready for the AT&T National, which starts June 30, and the next two majors. Then again, he said two weeks ago he would do everything possible to be ready for the U.S. Open, which is far more significant.

“We’re very disappointed that he won’t be playing in the National Open,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis, whom Woods called Tuesday morning. “He certainly brings excitement to the event.

“He’ll be missed, but the U.S. Open will go on. The event is bigger than one player, but he certainly will be missed.”

The U.S. Open starts June 16 at Congressional, where Woods won the AT&T National two years ago and tied for 19th when the U.S. Open was last played there in 1997.

Woods was replaced by Michael Whitehead, a senior at Rice, who was first alternate from the Dallas qualifier. Whitehead also was an alternate from the first stage of 18-hole local qualifying and now takes the spot of golf’s biggest star.

Woods’ future, meanwhile, is as muddied as ever.

“The hardest thing in the world as a golfer, or any athlete, is to stay out,” two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange said. “It’s smart, what he’s doing.

“Unfortunately, the U.S. Open falls in that time frame. But every time something happens and the longer he’s away from the game, it’s going to make it tougher for him to come back.

“It’s going to be harder and harder the longer this goes.”

Woods hasn’t won since the 2009 Australian Masters, a stretch of 22 tournaments. He not only lost his No. 1 ranking late last year, he has dropped to No. 15 in the world, his lowest ranking since the spring of 1997.