Woods' Ryder Cup participation in doubt

LONDON - The golfing future of Tiger Woods has again been plunged into doubt after the 14-times major winner re-injured his back and withdrew midway through the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday.

Woods was playing in only his third event since undergoing surgery on a nerve in his back in late March.

He damaged his lower back when playing a shot from an awkward stance on the edge of a bunker on the 2nd hole in round four at Akron.

On the 9th, Woods was again in clear trouble after swinging at his tee shot and this time halted his involvement in a tournament for the second time this year.

There must now be a genuine possibility of Woods being advised by his medical team to rest for several months to allow his back problem to fully clear.

His Ryder Cup participation at Gleneagles in September, which was already doubtful, is suddenly in more jeopardy than ever.

“It happened on the second hole when I hit my second shot,” Woods explained to reporters in the car park, where even removing his golf shoes looked to be causing discomfort.

“I fell back into the bunker, just jarred it. It’s been spasming ever since. It’s just the whole lower back. I don’t know what happened.”

Woods appears certain to miss the final major of the year, the US PGA Championship, which begins at Valhalla on Thursday.

When asked about his prospects for that event, the former world No1 replied: “I don’t know. I’m just trying to get out of here.”

At a WGC venue where he has routinely succeeded in the past – having won there eight times – Woods had started the final day at one over par and more than 10 shots adrift of the tournament’s leading lights.

He dropped another three strokes during the opening stretch on Sunday before deciding enough was enough.

It is Woods’s injury situation which is far more pertinent than his poor form. After previous ailments relating to his left knee, left elbow and achilles on the same side, a back injury first surfaced in the latter half of last year.

In March, Woods withdrew from the Honda Classic whilst in obvious back pain; that proved the precursor to the surgery which forced him to miss both the Masters – for the first time in his professional career – and the US Open. – Press Association

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