Wednesday 13 December 2017

Tiger Woods carted off after withdrawing with injury

Tiger Woods withdraws from the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course after his 12th hole
Tiger Woods withdraws from the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course after his 12th hole

William S Callahan

In only his second tournament of the year, Tiger Woods was forced to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open yesterday because of an apparent back injury.

Before putting on the 12th hole - the par-three third on the North Course at Torrey Pines - Woods had caddie Joe LaCava pick up the ball. He was three-over through 11 holes, having just double-bogeyed his final completed hole. His preparation for yesterday's round was not helped by a delay of over an hour due to fog.

"It tightened up during the suspensions and it never loosened back up again," said Woods, alluding to fog delays before the round began. "It just got progressively tighter.

"It's frustrating that it started shutting down like that. I was ready to go. I had a good warm up session.

"Then I got cold standing out there and everything started deactivating again. It's frustrating that I just can't stay active. That's just the way it is.

Activate

"We usually don't have to wait like this back home practicing. You can keep going and going. My glutes are shutting off and they don't activate."

Woods has said in his last two events at Isleworth in December and the Phoenix Open last week that his health was good. He had back surgery at the end of March and took four months off at the end of the year.

Woods shot a career-high 82 in the second round of the Phoenix Open last week and missed the cut by 12 shots. He struggled badly with his short game in Phoenix and show a similarly erractic touch around the greens at Torrey Pines.

This is the third time in his last eight tournaments that Woods has been forced to withdraw through injury.

Elsewhere, heat and stifling humidity were Graeme McDowell's only concerns as he prepared for today's second round of the Maybank Malaysia Open at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

Yesterday the Ulsterman zoomed smoothly to the top of the leaderboard for a share of the lead with his fellow Ryder Cup player and tournament title holder Lee Westwood as they each filed a six-under par 66.

The chasing pack was hot on their heels, with England's Tommy Fleetwood on 67 alongside Danny Chia of Malaysia and Korea's Sunghoon Kang.

McDowell's game was on song in all departments on a difficult course which demands care and accuracy, particularly on wedge-shot approaches to the greens.

Playing in only his second event of the season, the Portrush golfer was particularly pleased that he restricted his errors to the minimum. His only blemish came on the par-five sixth hole, his 15th, which he bogeyed.

"I'm very happy. I hit the ball great today. Drove it well. Gave myself a lot of looks for birdie, hit a lot of great putts that didn't go in, and holed a couple of longer ones.

"I made just the one mistake from the middle of the fairway, just kind of lost my concentration for a second.

"It's very easy to do that in this heat, but generally, I'm very, very happy with that start. I've just got to conserve energy and save some of it for the week-end here in the heat," said McDowell.

The performance of McDowell and Westwood suggested this West Course at Kuala Lumpur was an easy layout on which to plunder birdies, but the man from Rathmore golf club in Portrush nailed that presumption.

"It's tough to pinpoint what exactly you have to do right on this course because you have to do everything right. "

Paul McGinley, the winning 2014 Ryder Cup Captain, had to dig deep to file a respectable three-under-par 69 in his first competitive round since November. Dubliner Peter Lawrie was one of 38 players who broke par as he finished up with a 71.

Damien McGrane and Michael Hoey, the other Irish players in the field, left themselves in need of a big improvement in order to have a chance of making the cut, as each shot 75 to lie well down the leaderboard.

Maybank Malaysia Open

Live, Sky Sports 4, 5.0 am

Farmers Insurance Open,

Live, Sky Sports 4, 8.0pm

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