Breaking: Tiger withdraws from Dubai Desert Classic

Photo by AP/Kamran

Stop me, if you have heard this before.

After shooting a first-round 77 in the Dubai Desert Classic, Tiger Woods has withdrawn Friday morning from the European Tour event stating a back spasm prevents him from playing in the second round.

His agent Mark Steinberg said the American suffered a back spasm on Thursday night but was told by Woods that it was not “the nerve pain that’s kept him out for so long”.

“Tiger felt okay coming off the course on Thursday. He wasn’t in pain, but went into a spasm in his lower back fairly late last night after dinner,” Steinberg said on Friday. “He (Tiger) says it’s not the nerve pain that has kept him out for so long. He says it’s a back spasm and he just can’t get the spasm to calm down.

“Look, he doesn’t have the strongest back in the world, right. So, it’s probably easier to spasm. I am sure there are a variety of factors that can play into it. Tiger wanted to be here in Dubai. He wants to be here. He just feels terrible that he can’t,” Steinberg said.

Tiger’s first competitive appearance of the year was a missed cut at the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and he is scheduled to return to the PGA Tour at the Genesis Open at Riviera from 16-19 February and the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens from the following week. Obviously, all of that is now on hold with more back issues.

Woods had won the Dubai tournament twice before, but was 12 shots behind overnight leader Sergio Garcia after day one. “The last two drives I hit off of eight and nine today, there’s something different,” Woods said after finishing with his worst round ever in the event Thursday.  “I need to figure out what the hell I did that was different and then replicate it for hopefully another 54 more holes.

“I didn’t hit the ball very well. I left probably about 16 putts short,” Woods continued. “I just couldn’t get the speed of these things, and consequently, it added up to a pretty high number. I wasn’t in pain at all. I was just trying to hit shots and I wasn’t doing a very good job. I’m fighting to try and shoot a score,”

That was Thursday, and by Friday morning after seeking out treatment from the European Tour doctors and trainers on site for the spasm, he decided he could not play.

It is the 7th time since 2010 that Woods has been unable to physically finish an event and had to withdraw. He had taken a 15 month break from Tour competition after two back surgeries in September and October of 2015.  He resumed at Torrey Pines last week, where he missed the cut.

Breaking: Tiger withdraws from Dubai Desert Classic
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