Tiger Woods withdraws in Dubai due to back spasms

Playing in his second competitive tournament in as many weeks, a trip to Dubai didn’t last long for Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods long-awaited return to the PGA Tour came last week at Torrey Pines, a course he dominated at his peak. He missed the cut, but another course and event he has done well at came this week in Dubai and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. But a first-round 77 (+5) left him with an uphill climb to make the weekend, and he didn’t look right physically amid his struggles on Thursday.

Woods withdrew from the tournament in Dubai Friday morning, with his agent Mark Steinberg citing back spasms as the reason.

Here’s part of Steinberg’s statement.

”Tiger Woods went into a spasm in his lower back fairly late last night … got treatment done early this morning for 3 1-2 hours, but can’t get it out,” Steinberg said. ”He says it’s not the nerve, but back spasm, and he can’t get the spasms to calm down. He can move around, but he can’t make a full rotation in his swing.”

Woods has now withdrawn from a tournament seven times since 2010, and the third time before the cut. Steinberg suggested Woods still hopes to play in the Genesis Open, which benefits his foundation, at Riviera Country Club in two weeks. After that, Woods had previously committed to play in the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida Feb. 23-26.

Back issues are clearly no joke, and even if Woods is not dealing with nerve pain concern for his future is going to resurface. The gap between how he expects to play and what he’s able to actually do is probably still substantial, even at 41 years old with injuries taking him out of competitive play regularly over the last handful of years.

It’s a significant leap to say Woods will not play on the PGA Tour again this season, or perhaps ever again if he just can’t get and stay healthy. But the diminished state he’s in is a little bit sad to see, and any chance Woods can even briefly recapture his early 2000’s form is gone.

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