The Masters: Tiger Woods' title defence undone by back pain

Tiger Woods Round 3 The Masters

Tiger Woods’ hopes of retaining the green jacket are over after a marathon Saturday at Augusta National during which he was dogged by back pain.

Woods got his Masters title defence off to a near-ideal start when he opened with a four-under 68 in Thursday’s weather-affected first round.

As a result of the knock-on effects of that three-hour rain delay, the 15-time major champion was able to play only ten holes of his second round yesterday, forcing him to play 26 holes on Saturday.

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For a 44-year-old with the history of back trouble that Tiger has, such a feat was always going to be a tall order, and so it proved.

After putting the finishing touches to a one-under 71 in round two, Woods found himself only four shots off the lead.

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However, he was unable to mount a charge in his third round and appeared to struggle physically from early on, eventually signing for a level-par 72 – 11 shots off the lead of Dustin Johnson.

Afterwards, Woods admitted that the long day had taken its toll.

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“I had my day off yesterday, which was nice,” he said. “Today was not the case. We've been at it for quite some time. It's just part of the deal. If you have long days like this, I'm going to get a little bit sore, which I definitely am.

“The hard part is bending and twisting. That's part of the game, though, and so that's always been the challenge with my back issues and I guess will always continue to be.”

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