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Tiger Woods withdraws from Honda Classic with back injury

Tiger Woods was 5-over par for the final round when he withdrew with a back injury. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

American Russell Henley, 24, won a four-man playoff to capture the Honda Classic on Sunday – his second PGA Tour title.

Rory McIlroy, who started the final round with a two-shot lead and closed with a 74, tied for second along with Russell Knox and American Ryan Palmer.

But Tiger Woods missed the action after withdrawing on the 13th green in the final round with a lower back injury.

He was 5-over-par for the day and 12 shots behind McIlroy when he told his playing partner Luke Guthrie that he couldn’t go anymore.

Woods said through spokesman Glenn Greenspan it was a lower back problem that started Sunday morning during warmups.

He is scheduled to defend his title next week in the Cadillac Championship, but hasn’t decided whether he will play or not.

“Too early to tell,” Woods said in a statement (via Associated Press). “I’ll get treatment every day to try to calm it down. Just don’t know yet. Wait until Thursday and see how it feels.”

Woods has already played a limited schedule this year – just 10 complete rounds.

The latest setback prompted a question in columnist Tom Boswell’s weekly chat about whether Woods is now an underdog in regards to breaking Jack Nicklaus’s major championship record.

Boswell responds:

I think he’s a clear underdog right now.

I have a friend who’s the chief of staff of the Smithsonian and one of my favorite golfing partners for many year. She has a wonderful swing. She told me just months after the fire hydrant incident that Tiger would never win another major. To paraphrase (hope I get this right): His mystique was destroyed in the eyes of others. His self-image was shattered in his own eyes. She teases me periodically — since I was in the majority, for a long time, who thought Tiger was 50-50 to break Jack’s record — that he still hasn’t won another major. She doesn’t dislike him. It’s just golf/personality analysis.

I’m not convinced he doesn’t win another major. I’m stubborn. I’d not guess “one or two.” But his body was used hard in his training and in the (beautifully controlled) violence of his swing. Now, he keeps breaking down. He did NOT WD on Sunday because he was playing badly. NOTHING but a real injury, and a lot of pain, would get him to pull out of JACK’S OWN TOURNAMENT. Nicklaus only had two WDs in his career, I think. You can bet Tiger knows that Jack had the rep of never giving in to pain — always finishing the round or the tournament if at all possible. I was there for one of Jack’s WDs — at the Masters, I think (back pain).

I’d like to see an analysis of Tiger’s play in the six weeks after he pulled out of an event or walked off the course in mid-round. Because it has to REALLY hurt for him to do it. I suspect that record is not good and puts a shadow over his chances at the Masters. I could be wrong. Maybe he bounces back fairly well. I’ll see if I can track it down.

Kelyn Soong is a news aide, blogger and reporter in the sports section. He currently covers high school and local tennis and has written about a variety of sports.



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Cindy Boren · March 3, 2014

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