Tiger Woods, advised to limit all activities due to back spasms, cancels Riviera news conference

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The back spasms that caused Tiger Woods to withdraw from a tournament in Dubai on Feb. 3 remain persistent enough that the 14-time major champion is skipping a scheduled news conference at the Genesis Open on Wednesday for "precautionary'' reasons, said his agent, Mark Steinberg.

The tournament announced late Tuesday that Woods would not attend the news conference at Riviera Country Club because he has been "advised by doctors to limit all activities.''

On Friday, Woods, 41, withdrew from the tournament, which is in its first year of sponsorship by Hyundai and is being run by the Tiger Woods Foundation. Woods traveled to California over the weekend, Steinberg said, in an effort to take part in foundation and tournament activities.

"This is more precautionary,'' Steinberg said in a phone interview with ESPN.com early Wednesday morning. "This isn't about him not doing a press conference. What is going to be accomplished? What is he going to say? That he hopes his back spasms calm down.

"This is about the Genesis Open, the Tiger Woods Foundation and supporting Hyundai and his foundation. He is doing all he can without having to get up and move around all that much so that he can put himself in the best position to recover.''

Woods went more than 16 months without competing due to two back surgeries in late 2015 meant to alleviate nerve pain. He returned in December at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, where he led the field in birdies and produced a good bit of optimism about his health and ability to return to competitive form.

But after just two tournaments in 2017, Woods' future is again in doubt. He missed the cut three weeks ago at the Farmers Insurance Open, shooting rounds of 76-72. Then he flew to the Middle East to play in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, a European Tour event he has won twice. Woods shot an opening-round 77 that included no birdies, then withdrew prior to the second round citing back spasms.

"He is just having a hard time getting these spasms to calm down,'' Steinberg said. "And he's working on that on an hourly basis. He's got personnel working with him to help pacify that.''

Steinberg did not say what kind of tests Woods has undergone but did note that the golfer has seen doctors in California.

When it was suggested to Woods' longtime agent that the situation looks bad, Steinberg said: "To the outside world, it's up to you to draw that conclusion. Tiger remains pretty confident in the fact that these spams are something he knows will calm down. He's just working around the clock to make that happen. He's got an intense dedication to get back to the point where he can be out there practicing and in public and working toward his goal."

"At this point, it is the back spasms that are keeping him from being a part of the tournament," Steinberg added. "He's paying close attention to his doctors who he has seen since he's been in California and to do the right thing as far as the long term.''

Woods made the announcement on Friday that he would not be playing at this week's Genesis Open or next week's Honda Classic, which is near his South Florida home. He has said in the past that back spasms have occurred from time to time, and when they do, there is considerable pain associated with them.

The winner of 79 PGA Tour events, Woods first showed signs of back trouble toward the end of a five-victory season in 2013. He had his first surgery, called a microdiscectomy, on March 31, 2014. He came back in June of that year and played just five events. Then Woods played 11 times in 2015 before two more surgeries -- the first in September was another microdiscectomy; no details have been given about the second surgery in October of that year.

The only event he played in 2016 was at the Hero, and then there have been the two tournaments this year. In all, Woods has played 19 times since his first surgery, with seven missed cuts and three withdrawals. His best finish was a tie for 10th at the 2015 Wyndham Championship.

Trying to determine any future golf plans is impossible, Steinberg said, until the issue with back spasms is resolved.

"The doctors he is seeing out here [in California] have helped with that process,'' Steinberg said. "Him being in a rest position is the most important thing right now. He flew out here fairly comfortably, and he did that because he cares about the tournament, Hyundai and his foundation. He wanted to give it his best effort, because the spams have not completely calmed down. He is hoping he can get to a point soon where that is alleviated.''

Woods is not expected to take part in any tournament or foundation functions, Steinberg said. And his return to Florida is unknown.