Tiger Woods withdrew from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday, forced to stop playing when he experienced excruciating back pain.
Woods, who was playing in his third tournament since having back surgery for a pinched nerve in late March, hit his tee shot on the ninth hole of the Akron course and walked off in apparent pain, saying he had “jarred it.” It wasn’t immediately clear whether it was the same area of his back that forced him to have surgery, but the problem began on the second hole.
“It’s just the whole lower back,” Woods, who was three-over for the day and four-over for the tournament, said (via the PGA Tour). He headed for his car, where he removed his shoes and struggled in his attempt to tie his sneakers. “I don’t know what happened when I landed [on the shot on No. 2].”
Tiger in so much pain that he’s wincing just taking off his shoes. pic.twitter.com/LNhTtLLavY
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) August 3, 2014
FWIW, he looked to be in much more pain than when he WD’d at Honda in March. — GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) August 3, 2014
Really in pain, almost can’t walk. Favoring right side and leg.
— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) August 3, 2014
The problem occurred after Woods birdied the first hole. “It happened on the second hole when I hit my second shot,” he said of his awkward, one-legged shot from a poor lie. “I fell back into the bunker. I just jarred it, and it’s been spasming ever since.” After his 315-foot tee shot on the ninth hole, Woods bent over for a moment, then walked gingerly to a cart and was driven away by his caddie, Joe LaCava.
After the second hole, Bubba Watson, his playing partner, noticed that “he hit some shots that we’re not used to seeing him hit so obviously something was bothering him. You could tell something was going on.” Woods didn’t confide in Watson, though. “You’ve seen this man win with a hurt leg. … I was trying to work on my own game.”
The injury, whatever it may be, comes just a few days before the last major of the year, the PGA Championship, begins and Woods said he had no idea whether he could play. “I’m just trying to get out of here,” he said.
Tiger Woods has withdrawn from a PGA TOUR event 5 times since undergoing knee surgery following the 2008 U.S. Open. 4 of those in the 4th Rd
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 3, 2014