Another injury sidelines Tiger Woods

"That's one of the things that I've had to keep reminding myself, especially during practice sessions," he said. "Hey, this is supposed to be my second tournament back, not my third. Everything's going pretty good. I've gotten a little bit better, and the good news is I'm still getting stronger.

"I've still got a long way to go as far as my strength and explosiveness compared to what I'm used to feeling, but all that's coming around."

On Saturday, there was another question about how he felt physically.

"Everything's the same. I just need more reps," Woods said. "Still continue to stay at it because I'm actually getting better the more rounds I'm playing. I'm actually getting my feel back."

At the Open two weeks ago and again this week, Woods was asked about his health, his recovery and how much practicing he could do. Although he acknowledged that he was being careful, he also said he had no restrictions.

But he didn't apply that same caution to his expectations.

"If you don't have that attitude that you're going to win, why compete?" he said.

That is simply how Woods is wound. Perhaps it is among the reasons why he has been such a great champion, a winner of 14 majors and 79 PGA Tour titles. His mind works differently. He doesn't allow for excuses.

It's admirable but not necessarily realistic. Woods and the world should have viewed these tournaments like a baseball player would a minor league rehab assignment. Winning is not important. It's competing, getting back inside the ropes and working out the issues in the game.

None of this is to say Woods' latest injury wouldn't have happened anyway. The same painful exit might have occurred even if there were no previous issues. Back problems are a way of life in golf. The shot Woods tried to hit on the second hole is not one anybody would practice.

So it is impossible to know for sure.

What we do know is that was a tough scene to witness on Sunday and a brutal one for Woods to endure -- again.

"It didn't look good," said longtime rival Phil Mickelson, who saw Woods on the ninth hole from the 11th fairway. "It looked like he was really in pain. I hope he's OK. I mean, I hope he's able to play next week. I hope it's a muscle and nothing serious because I'm really looking forward to playing with him.

"As much as I love playing with him, playing against him, trying to beat him, we all want him in the field. We all want him back. I just hope he's OK."

Woods didn't look OK Sunday afternoon, the unfortunate story of his year.

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