It has been bad enough for Tiger Woods that his play to start the new season has been inconsistent at best, shoddy, by his standards, at worst. Now comes back pain so severe that he pulled out of the final round of the Honda Open Sunday after 13 holes.
Woods said his back started to tighten up before his round even began, and it got progressively worse as he played the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. course. Clearly, even with his shaky start, something was amiss when he scored a 40 on the front nine. He was 5 over for his round after four bogeys, a double bogey and just one birdie. He made four straight pars on the back nine before deciding to leave. Midway through the round, he gingerly retrieved the ball out of the cup and after a series of wild shots, he pulled out of the event.
“It started this morning during warm-ups,” Woods said through spokesman Glenn Greenspan, who accompanied Woods off the course in a van.
Woods is scheduled to play in this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, where he is the defending champion. He has a Tuesday news conference scheduled in Miami.
“It’s too early to tell,” Woods said about playing this week. “I’ll get treatment every day to try and calm it down. Don’t know yet. We’ll see how I am, wait till Thursday and see how it feels.”
Woods said it was the same feeling he had at the Barclays last summer, when he suffered back spasms in the final round and actually fell to the ground after hitting an approach shot.
Woods’ playing partner, Luke Guthrie, noticed something off-kilter about Woods’ game.
“He made a couple uncharacteristic shots; the drive on 3 kind of was the first one,” Guthrie said. “I didn’t know if he wasn’t feeling the greatest and kind of seemed like he might have been protecting, came up and out of it. I didn’t think much of it until, I forget maybe 11, I noticed he was bending down gingerly.
“If you’re hurting, you’re hurting. You don’t need to risk injuring yourself even more. He’s had his share of problems with injuries. There’s no reason for him to chance it if he’s really hurting.”
This is the seventh time in Woods’ career that he has withdrawn from a tournament, and the fourth in the last five years.