February 03, 2017

Tiger withdraws from Omega Dubai Desert Classic

A disappointed Tiger Woods withdrew from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club due to back spasms about an hour before his scheduled second-round tee time Friday.

The 41-year-old Woods, who has undergone three back surgeries in recent years, said the discomfort began after dinner Thursday night following his first-round 5-over 77.

“He said it’s not the nerve pain that’s kept him out for so long,” Tiger’s agent Mark Steinberg said. “He just can’t get the back spasms to calm down. He feels terrible for the tournament.”

Woods arrived Tuesday after a 17-hour flight from California, where he missed the cut in his PGA TOUR season debut at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, shooting rounds of 76 and 72. It was his first official event in 17 months and marked only the 16th time in his 21-year pro career that he has missed a cut.

Returning to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic for the eighth time and first since 2014, Tiger failed to record a birdie Thursday for the first time since 2014. It was the highest score at Emirates in 29 rounds for the two-time champion, who owns five total top-five finishes.

Afterward, Woods told the media he felt fine physically.

“No, I wasn’t in pain at all,” he said. “I was just trying to hit shots, and I wasn’t doing a very good job.”

Steinberg said Tiger received treatment from his personal trainer Thursday night and early Friday morning, but the spasms persisted.

“He tried to work it out,” Steinberg said. “He can move around, but he can’t make a full rotation on his swing.”

Woods was scheduled to take off next week, then return to competition Feb. 16-19 at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California, followed by The Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

As of now, that is still the plan.

“The fact that he feels that it’s not the nerve pain, that’s very encouraging for him,” Steinberg said. “He’s had some spasms before.”