February 05, 2015

Tiger withdraws from Farmers Insurance Open with back injury

Tiger Woods withdrew from the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, California, on Thursday after 11 holes because of lower back pain. He was 2-over at the time.

Woods, making just his second PGA TOUR start of the season and second since the PGA Championship last August, underwent back surgery for a pinched nerve nearly a year ago on March 31.

Tiger was scheduled to begin play at 12:20 p.m. ET. However, dense fog resulted in three delays, with Woods finally starting two hours later.

“It just never loosened back up again,” said Tiger, who spoke briefly with the media before leaving the course. “And when we went back out, it just got progressively tighter.”

Woods grimaced often during the round, with playing partner Billy Horschel coming to his aid by picking up his tees and retrieving one of his golf balls from a cup.

It marked the third time in his last nine starts that Tiger has withdrawn due to a back injury.

“It’s frustrating that it started shutting down like that,” he said. “I was ready to go. I had a good warm-up session the first time around. Then we stood out there, and I got cold, and everything started deactivating again. That’s just kind of the way it is.”

Once the fog lifted, Woods teed off with Horschel and Rickie Fowler on the 450-yard, par-4 10th hole. Tiger knocked a 3-wood into the first cut of the right rough, hit a poor second shot right of the green, then skulled his third shot 25 feet beyond the pin and two-putted for a bogey.

At the 490-yard, par-4 11th, Woods blocked his tee shot right, sliced his second shot 100 yards short of the green, then missed the green long-right, the ball disappearing into heavy rough. But Tiger hit a perfectly judged sand wedge that rolled into the center of the cup for a scrambling par.

Woods missed the green right at the par-3 12th, chipped 12 feet short of the hole and two-putted for a bogey. At the par-4 13th, he smashed his best drive of the day down the middle of the fairway but pushed his approach shot with a 7-iron from 170 yards well right of the green. Tiger nearly pitched in again, the ball slipping eight feet past the pin but made the par putt.

Following a par at the par-5 14th, Woods salvaged another par at the par-4 15th, missing the fairway and green, but converted a 10-foot putt. At the par-4 16th, he pulled his drive into the left rough and faced a short, downhill second shot with the ball below his feet. Woods judged it well, his 79-yard approach finishing six feet from the pin, before sinking the birdie putt.

After a long two-putt par at the 170-yard, par-3 17th, Tiger pushed another drive into the right rough at the par-5 18th but had a clear shot to the green from 207 yards. Faced with a terrible lie, he somehow hoisted a 5-wood onto the front-left portion of the putting surface and was left with a long, uphill, left-to-right eagle putt. The only way to get the ball close to the hole was to putt through the left fringe, but Woods’ eagle attempt slid eight feet to the right. He missed his birdie try for a three-putt par, making the turn in 1-over 37.

At the 519-yard, par-5 first hole, Tiger pulled his drive into the left rough, then hit a 4-iron from 222 yards that came up short-right of the green. Woods ran his pitch shot about 30 feet past the pin and buried the birdie putt to return to even-par.

However, at the drivable 328-yard, par-4 second, Tiger sprayed his driver way right, skulled his short second shot over the back of the green and came up short of the putting surface with his third shot. He then bladed his fourth shot 25 feet past the hole and two-putted for a double bogey.

At that point, Woods decided to withdraw from the tournament, with a score of 47 through 11 holes.