It didn’t seem like it could get much worse for Tiger Woods after his outing last week, in which he shot an 82 in the second round of the Waste Management Open and missed the cut. But it did get worse — much worse.
Woods withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open after playing just 11 holes, at a shaky 2 over par, and experiencing back pain. Following his poor play last week, Woods had said that, physically, he felt fine, but he spent much of Thursday’s first round grimacing and grabbing his back.
The tournament at Torrey Pines in San Diego was delayed over two hours because of fog, and Woods said after his abbreviated round that his back tightened up while he was waiting to play. He explained, “It’s just my glutes are shutting off. They don’t activate, hence it goes into my lower back.”
Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, which was the most recent of his 14 Grand Slam wins. But on Thursday he resembled the struggling golfer of late far more than the superstar who was on pace to break Jack Nicklaus’s record for major victories.
Woods had some more problems around the greens:
He also went right off the tee several times, and was no sure thing to hit an approach shot anywhere near the green.
But there was no question that Woods was in pain, at least as of the third hole, and eventually it proved too much.
So now Woods has either missed the cut or withdrawn from his past four PGA events, and six of his past eight, dating back to last year’s Honda Classic. That March tournament is where many golf analysts expect Woods to resurface after giving his back time to heal, as it is played near his home in Florida.
It remains to be seen when, exactly, Woods will play again, but he is already running out of time, and tournament rounds, to prepare adequately for The Masters, the season’s first major, which begins April 9. At this point, Woods needs to concern himself with being competitive over four full rounds at any tournament before he can think of resuming his quest for Grand Slam glory.
(H/T SB Nation)