Tiger Woods withdrew from the Honda Classic on the 13th hole of his final round Sunday afternoon. A representative of Team Tiger characterized the issue as lower back spasms, and added that Woods had been getting treatment for the problem, according to Ryan Lavner of Golf Channel.
Woods had been stretching out the back all day, including on the first tee before he ever hit a shot.
Tiger takes ample time to stretch out the back on 1 tee. Iron down the pipe to start things off.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) March 2, 2014
Tiger making some weird stretches on 11 after his tee shot. Wonder if his back is acting up.— Adam Schupak (@GolfweekSchupak) March 2, 2014
Tiger, who imploded early into Sunday’s finale, took himself out of contention after posting an ugly 5-over 40 on the front nine. Several tweets suggested that the world No. 1 was dealing with a back injury and Team Tiger confirmed as much to tourney officials.
Woods' nagging back dates back to last season, when he blamed a soft hotel mattress for his achy back and withdrew from The Barclays pro-am. That back issue persisted all week, and was most visible on Sunday when Woods dropped to the ground while still contending in that FedExCup event last August:
Woods' spokesperson Glenn Greenspan confirmed after the round that the issues were the same as those that bothered him at the Barclays.
"It's my lower back with spasms," Woods said in a statement via Greenspan and on his website. "They started this morning warming up."
Whether Tiger would be able to defend his title at Doral next week was up in the air.
"It's too early to tell," Woods noted in his statement. "I need treatment everyday until Thursday to try to calm it down and we'll see how it is. It's the same feeling I had as Barclays."
In what NBC termed a "developing situation" as it took over Sunday coverage of the tournament from Golf Channel, Woods shook hands with playing partner Luke Guthrie and left the course on the 13th hole. Here's the ugly scorecard he had going before the walk-off (via PGATour.com):
With four pars on Nos. 10, 11, 12 and 13, Woods was honing in on a 75 for his final round. Should the injury be serious, it would definitely cast some doubt over Woods' ability to start at Augusta next month, let alone next week’s title defense at Doral. The WGC tourney at Doral is just down the road, so he doesn't have to leave home for the second straight week, but Woods didn't sound optimistic about it:
Tiger Woods on whether he'll play Doral: "Too early to tell. I need treatment every day until Thursday to try to calm it down. We'll see."— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) March 2, 2014
Rory McIlroy, with a one-shot lead making the turn, infamously withdrew from last year's Honda Classic midway through the second round.
Woods last withdrew from a PGA Tour event in 2012, when he drove away from Doral after 11 holes of his final round.