Last year it was Rory McIlroy who walked off the golf course. This year it was the turn of Tiger Woods.
Sitting five-over-par and some twelve shots behind McIlroy, Woods told his playing partner Luke Guthrie on the 13th green that he couldn’t continue. “It was a pleasure playing with you,” Woods told Guthrie.
“It was pretty uneventful,” said Guthrie.
Not so the aftermath. Anytime Tiger Woods pulls out of an event, it’s a big story, and last night was no different. Woods cited back spasms as the reason. Doug Ferguson, the golf writer for the Associated Press, reported that the police kept the media away from the parking lot to give Woods some privacy.
You don't need to risk injuring yourself even more. He's had his share of problems with injuries - Luke Guthrie on Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods, the world No.1, started his season at Torrey Pines – a venue where he was looking for his tenth victory – but missed the 54-hole cut. So far it’s March and the 14-time major winner hasn’t yet complete a Sunday’s play.
Guthrie on Tiger Woods withdrawal
Here’s what Guthrie told reporters afterwards:
Q Can you tell us what happened on 13, what Tiger said to you?
LUKE GUTHRIE: Obviously he kind of noticed that he wasn't feeling the greatest there. I noticed he was starting to kind of gingery tee up the ball and pick up the ball out of the hole and stuff. He just came over and said that, I can’t go anymore, it was a pleasure playing with you and I just said, take it easy, feel better. Pretty unofficial, uneventful.
Q During the entire round, did it seem like he was laboring?
LUKE GUTHRIE: He made a couple uncharacteristic shots; the drive on 3 kind of was the first one. I didn't know if he wasn't feeling the greatest and kind of seemed like he might have been protecting, came up and out of it. I don't know, I didn't think much of it until, I forget maybe the first hole, 11, I noticed he was bending down gingerly.
Q Any talk, chitchat at all?
LUKE GUTHRIE: He didn't mention it to me. We were just chitchatting. Obviously he wasn't playing the greatest. I wasn't playing the greatest. I mean, he was battling out there. He was trying to birdie - nice birdie on 7 for him. It's not like he wasn't throwing in the towel; he was still trying.
Q After yesterday, how surprised are were you to see him pull out of the tournament today?
LUKE GUTHRIE: If you're hurting, you're hurting. You don't need to risk injuring yourself even more. He's had his share of problems with injuries. There's no reason for him to chance it if he's really hurting.
Tiger Woods - what's next?
Tiger Woods is due to defend his title this week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at the TPC Blue Monster in Doral – but said in a statement it was touch and go on whether he would tee it up. “It's too early to tell,” Woods said. “I need treatment every day until Thursday to try and calm it down. We'll see how it is.”
Meanwhile, an old foe of Tiger Woods, Brandel Chamblee, the Golf Channel analyst, took the opportunity to stick the knife in once again. Golf Digest reported that Chamblee said Woods was no longer the intimidating golfer he once was.
Chamblee said: "Curious fact, that he is in his 17th year as a professional golfer and with all of his talents and skills and firepower he's never been able to come from further back than five on the PGA Tour to ultimately win. The last time he did that was 2009, at Bay Hill, and he was in the final group. At that stage of his life he was far more intimidating of a figure. This year he's played seven rounds of PGA Tour golf preceding this week. Six times he was beaten...Yesterday he was playing with Luke Guthrie. Tiger shot 65, Luke Guthrie also shot 65.
"Of course he thinks he can win. But he needs some help and the players don't think he's as capable of winning now as he used to be. In other words, he can't intimidate them to the extent that he used to."
Tiger Woods - your thoughts
Is Tiger Woods on the slippery slope towards the end of his career, or is this just another blip that he'll eventually overcome? Leave your thoughts below.