Tiger's back woes causing distress

"It's the same thing," Woods said of the back spasms that caused him to WD at the Honda Classic. "If it flares up, it flares up."

It's always dangerous to speculate, but Woods clearly was in discomfort for the majority of his round. When asked if his condition could be something more serious than back spasms, Woods said, "Well, it is back spasms. So we've done all the protocols and it's just a matter of keeping everything aligned, so I don't go into that."

In other words, Woods isn't in a hurry to get into medical specifics. He has always been that way, which is fair enough. You want to ask what he hit on the par-3 ninth, fine. You want to ask about MRIs and X-rays, good luck.

"As I've said, we've done all the protocols," he said.

Nobody was sure what to expect from Woods on Sunday. He could win going away. He could grind it out. He could WD. Anything was possible.

Woods grinded it out, but at what cost? He isn't scheduled to play again until March 20 at Bay Hill. But what if his back doesn't cooperate? What if his medical and training team can't put him back together in time? Is next month's Masters in jeopardy?

The only absolutes are these: It was only the eighth time in 18 years as a pro that Woods went an entire round without a birdie. It was his worst-ever round at Doral. And since the start of last year, Woods has recorded a Sunday round in the 60s just three times.

Withdrawing from the tournament was never a consideration, he said. But after playing 62 holes in three days, Woods planned to "shut it down for a while."

Earlier in the week, during his pre-tournament news conference, Woods delivered a polite reminder of what happens when people doubt him. It was said with a smile, sort of, but it was said.

"A lot of you in here," Woods told the media on Wednesday, "have wrote me off, that I would never come back. But here I am."

Woods was here at Doral in spirit, but his red shirt-Sunday game was nowhere to be found.

An Austrian has the bloody head to prove it.

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