Tiger’s back…ailing (again), withdraws in midst of final round at Honda Classic
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour
Tiger's back!
Tiger Woods, who was struggling in the final round, withdrew from the Honda Classic on Sunday. He putted out for par on no. 13, and then gingerly got into an emergency van, accompanied by his mom Tida and his daughter Sam.

In a statement via his spokesperson, Woods cited a back injury. 

“It’s my lower back with spasms,” he said. “It started this morning warming up.”

Woods, who won the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral last year, isn’t sure of his status to defend his title yet.

“It’s too early to tell,” he said. “I need treatment every day until Thursday to try to calm it down. We’ll see how it is.”

Tiger added it was the “same feeling” he had last Augusta at The Barclays, the first leg of the FedExCup Playoffs. However, Woods, who was visibly in pain at Liberty National, finished the tournament and even contended, almost winning the event. While he withdrew from his buddy Notah Begay’s charity tournament, Woods was well enough to return the following week to compete at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Meanwhile, Woods shot his lowest score in seven months on Saturday, posting a five-under 65 in the third round. But, it was a different story today in the final round. Woods struggled right out the gate.

He airmailed the second green, fluffed his first chip, then hit his second one to four feet, which he made for bogey. That was just the start of Tiger’s troubles. On the 3rd, Woods pushed his drive so far right that it went into a water hazard (which I previously didn’t know existed). He had difficulty with his distance control hitting into the green once again and ended up posting a double-bogey on the straightforward par-5.

Despite rolling in a birdie on the par-3 7th, Woods also bogeyed nos. 4, 6 and 9. He made the turn, posting a five-over 40.

In between the 9th green and 10th tee, his girlfriend Lindsey Vonn, who brought out Woods’ daughter, grabbed him to the side and whispered something in his ear for about 20-30 seconds. No word what was said.

Meanwhile, Woods started cringing with pain and grabbing his back in the few holes before he walked off the course.

As a fellow sufferer of back problems, I’m incredibly sensitive when it comes to back injuries, but I do wonder if Tiger would have withdrawn had he been five-under on the day instead of five-over. At the same time, it’s usually smart to stop playing if you are indeed in pain.

Some of you have asked, what happened to the Tiger Woods who won the 2008 U.S. Open with a broken leg? He’s getting older. He’s no longer grinding it out of contention and injured. Well, who really knows.

This is the fourth time in five years that Woods has withdrawn from a tournament. He pulled out of the 2010 Players Championship due to a neck injury.

The following year at the same event, Woods posted a six-over 42 on the front nine at TPC Sawgrass in the first round before limping off the golf course, citing a ligament to his left knee and strain to his Achilles’ tendon.

In 2012 Woods withdrew from the WGC-Cadillac Championship because of discomfort to his left Achilles during Sunday’s final round.

And now, in 2014, we have Tiger pulling out of an event due to a recurring injury, which doesn’t bode well for him as The Masters quickly approaches in less than six weeks.

*Update: Luke Guthrie, who played with Tiger the past two days, finished up his round, posting a two-over 72. He recounted what happened out there after the 13th hole.

“Obviously, (Tiger) kind of noticed that he wasn’t feeling the greatest there.  I noticed he was starting to kind of gingerly tee up the ball and pick up the ball out of the hole and stuff.

“He just came over and said, ‘I can’t go anymore, it was a pleasure playing with you.’

“‘I just said, take it easy, feel better.’

“Pretty unofficial, uneventful.”

(Getty Images/Stuart Franklin)