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NEWS: Tiger (Back) Withdraws From Dubai Desert Classic

We have seen this movie before.

Tiger Woods withdrew from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic one hour prior to his second-round tee time Friday, citing painful back spasms that came on after he ate dinner Thursday evening. Woods opened with a birdieless 5-over 77 and needed a strong round to have a chance to play the weekend.

“He felt OK coming off the golf course yesterday so he wasn’t in pain,” said Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg. “I didn’t see him at dinner but he said he was OK and went into a spasm in his lower back, fairly late last night after dinner.

“He tried to work it out last night, didn’t really get it worked out. He had treatment starting pretty early this morning for probably the past three, three-and-a-half hours.

“He says it’s not the nerve pain that’s kept him out for so long. He says it’s a back spasm and he just can’t get the spasm to calm down.”

Woods appeared stiff and restricted throughout much of his time in Dubai, even indicating during his Wednesday press conference that he is swinging away from pain.

While it comes as no surprise to see Woods withdraw from a golf tournament due to injury – he has now done so in four of his last 19 official events – it has to be a major letdown after sitting out PGA Tour competition for 17 months to heal following multiple back surgeries. Despite missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open last week, Woods showed optimism about his health and potential.

“I’m trying to get ready for the first full week in April,” Woods said after shooting 76-72 at Torrey Pines. “That’s where eventually I want to have everything come together. That’s the plan. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to win this tournament on the weekend but I have next week.”

However, his remarks prior to the Dubai Desert Classic made many wonder whether he was completely healthy heading into play.

“Anyone in here who has ever had nerve pain in their back or anywhere in their spine, it’s like hitting your funny bone a thousand times a day,” Woods said on Wednesday. “It’s just not fun. I would much rather not have to go through that again.”

Despite Woods’ contention that it wasn’t nerve pain this time, his withdrawal is still cause for significant concern as he is scheduled to play the PGA Tour’s Genesis Open in two weeks and Honda Classic at the end of the month.


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