Tiger's back woes causing distress

ESPNAPI_IMG_NO_ALTEXT_Value

DORAL, Fla. -- The blood gave it away. Blood bubbling up from the head gash. Blood caked on the hands, nose and cheek. Enough blood to turn a monogrammed handkerchief from white to almost all red.

"It's not his best shot, eh?" said the tourist from Austria, his blood-stained handkerchief pressed hard against his head as he waited for emergency medical personnel to arrive.

No, Tiger Woods' first shot of Sunday's final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship was not his best, eh. And as it turned out, it also wasn't his worst shot, which is all you need to know about the carnage on his scorecard.

Woods shot a 6-over-par 78, going from T-4 to start the day, to T-25 to end it, 9 strokes behind your winner, Patrick Reed. Don't even bother trying to sprinkle happy dust on the round; it was painful to watch and apparently even more painful to play.

"It's over," Woods said. "It's finally done, which is good."

The back condition that forced Woods to withdraw a week ago at the Honda Classic continues to plague the world's No. 1-ranked player. He was a shadow of his Saturday Blue Monster self, when he shot his lowest round of the year in relation to par (66). He is definitely a shadow of his 2013 self, when he won five tournaments and PGA Tour Player of the Year.

"As I said, if I feel good, I can actually make a pretty decent swing," he said. "You saw it [Saturday]. I actually can make some good swings and shoot a good score. But if I'm feeling like this, it's a little tough."

Woods had spectators running for cover during parts of Sunday's play. He hit the poor Austrian with his tee shot on No. 1 and gave him a signed glove as an apology note. He did the same thing on No. 3, when he hit another member of the gallery.

There were no visible signs of discomfort during Woods' warmup on the Trump National Doral driving range. As The Donald himself watched from 15 yards away, Woods went through his full complement of shots.

But then came the pushed tee shot on No. 1. And the errant tee shot on No. 3, followed by the sight of Woods twisting and turning his back just before he splashed his second shot short and into the water.

There was the awkward lie on No. 6, when Woods had his left foot in a fairway bunker and his right foot on the grass. After the failed 8-iron shot -- short and to the left -- he clutched his back for a moment.

"That's what set it off and then it was done after that," he said.

His back phoned in sick on the sixth hole, but by then it probably didn't matter. Woods was already 7 shots behind Reed and on the verge of tournament irrelevance by the time he stepped to the No. 6 tee box. He fell to 8 back after bogeying the hole.

Woods spent more time in the Blue Monster sand than a beach umbrella. He missed putts in ways that made you do a double take. He botched a flop shot.

On the 11th green, the caddie for playing partner Hunter Mahan retrieved Woods' ball from the cup, sparing Woods the misery of having to bend down. More than a few times, Woods walked as if he were wearing a body brace.

All in all, he looked like a guy in need of a heating pad and chiropractor. Or who knows these days: An epidural? A leave of absence? Back surgery?

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...