Golf World Reacts to Tiger's Latest WD
Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements
THE withdrawal of Tiger Woods from the Dubai Desert Classic could potentially signal the end of the greatest playing career in the modern game. The 14-time major champion pulled out after a demoralising opening round of 77, citing a back spasm.
He had looked to be uncomfortable throughout his round and it came as no surprise when he pulled out of what was only his second comeback event. Unsurprisingly, he remained defiant, saying he was optimistic of making a “strong” recovery. He insisted he had not suffered an injury setback after a round that did not contain a single birdie at Emirates Golf Club. If a back spasm is not an injury setback then it is difficult to work out what it might be.
The 41-year-old withdrew just before the start of his second round. “He can’t get the spasm to calm down,” Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg said. “He can move around, he just can’t make a full rotation on the swing.”
To the surprise of let's say no one...tiger woods has withdrawn from the Dubai desert classic...— John Huggan (@johnhuggan) February 3, 2017
Woods said on the eve of the tournament that he had devised a swing that was designed to ‘‘play away” from the nerve pain caused by a back injury which required three operations in the space of 19 months.
“Spasms are a funny thing,” Steinberg added. “I’m certainly no doctor but they come and go. The fact that he feels though it’s not the nerve pain, that’s very encouraging for him. He’s got to get the spasm to calm down. He has his trainer here which is good. That’s who has been working on him for the past several hours.
“He’ll get it to calm down and, forget about the long term, the short-term prognosis he thinks hopefully will be strong based on the fact that it’s not that nerve pain.”
The good news according to Steiny is that it's merely a back spasm, not the nerve issue that necessitated surgery. LA Open is still in play.— Alan Shipnuck (@AlanShipnuck) February 3, 2017
Steinberg said Woods had not been in pain during or after his opening round, but admitted the long flight to Dubai could have been a factor. The player certainly looked to be suffering some discomfort during his 77, walking gingerly and grimacing several times - although that may have had something to do with the quality of his play.
“It’s one of those where it just happened,” he added. “I’m sure there are so many different factors that could play into it. He doesn’t have the strongest back in the world right, so it’s probably easier to spasm because of the issues he’s had. But he wanted to be here. He wants to be here and just feels terrible he can’t finish it out today.”
Tiger now WD 7 times since 2010, 4 due to back. 3 of those WDs came prior to cut, if you want to put an asterisk on his 17 worldwide— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) February 3, 2017
Woods did not look 100% fit when climbing out of a greenside bunker on his first hole and grimacing as he walked off the tee on the seventh, his 16th. “No, I wasn’t in pain at all,” Woods said at the time. “I was just trying to hit shots and I wasn’t doing a very good job. At the end I finally hit some good ones but the damage had already been done.”
He had never finished outside the top five in his first five appearances in Dubai, lifting the trophy in 2006 and 2008 and enjoying a scoring average of 68.71. But his opening 77 had left him with a massive task to avoid a second missed cut in a row after making an early exit from his first PGA Tour event since August 2015 in San Diego last week.
Woods is scheduled to have next week off before competing in the Genesis Open at Riviera and the Honda Classic at PGA National, but it would surprise nobody if he were to withdraw from both tournaments.
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