Injured Tiger pulls out of Honda event
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA
WORLD No. 1 Tiger Woods was forced to withdraw from the final round of the Honda Classic with a back injury on Sunday. His withdrawal comes less than six weeks before the first Major of the year, the April 10-13 Masters at Augusta National.
He retired on the 13th hole at PGA National, where he was five over par for the day and level for the tournament, having struggled to the turn in five-over 40.
"It's my lower back with spasms," the 38-year-old American said in a statement. "It started this morning warming up."
He said it was the same feeling he had during The Barclays in August, where he finished in obvious discomfort.
Woods said it was too soon to know whether he would be able to defend his title at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, starting in Miami on Thursday.
"It's too early to tell," he said. "I need treatment every day until Thursday to try to calm it down, and we'll see how it is."
It is the seventh time in Woods' career, and fourth time in the last five years, that he has withdrawn from a tournament. The most recent instance was in the final round of Doral in 2012.
His early exit on Sunday was probably a precaution more than anything else, and it would be premature to speculate that his back will hinder his preparation for the Masters.
Nevertheless, the recovery period from back injuries is notoriously unpredictable.
"If you're hurting, you don't need to risk injuring yourself even more," said Luke Guthrie, who played with Woods for the last two rounds. "He's had his share of problems with injuries (so) there's no reason to chance it."