Nick Watney, and not Tiger Woods (yet), withdraws from Doral with a bad back

Scott Halleran

With all eyes on Tiger Woods’ nagging injury, Nick Watney quietly withdrew from the WGC-Cadillac Championship with his own sore back.

When Tiger Woods began wincing and clutching at his back during a lackluster start to Sunday’s final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship, the golf world wondered if a lingering injury would cause the world No. 1 into back-to-back withdrawals from PGA Tour events.

Ten holes into the finale of the defense of his 2013 Cadillac title and Woods was still scuffling along, with three bogeys on the card and at 3-over for the day. Nick Watney, among the 68 top players who began the week on Donald Trump’s restructured Blue Monster, was not so fortunate, his own bad back forcing him out of the contest before his scheduled tee time.

Watney told Jim McCabe, who watched the 38th-ranked player in the world hit some 7-irons just 110 yards in an abbreviated practice session on Sunday, that his back was bothering him before he received treatment in the fitness tent and hitched a ride to the airport.

"I’m shattered," Watney told McCabe. "I love this place. I’ve finally started playing well, played real well on the back nine yesterday. I was looking forward to the round."

Watney was in contention, at 2-over, tied for 14th, and only six strokes back of 54-hole leader Patrick Reed, after posting a 1-under 71 on Saturday.

As for Tiger's status -- stay tuned...
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