Tiger Woods withdrew for the third time in his last eight tournaments on Thursday at the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open claiming back pain because his glute muscles shut down and wouldn’t reactivate.
Starting off at the back nine on the North Course, considered the easier of the two courses at Torrey Pines, Tiger again showed signs of cluelessness around the greens.
Last week at the Phoenix open Woods missed the cut on Friday after shooting his worst round ever on the PGA Tour. In a repeat performance, Tiger continued to blade and fluff several chips during the first eleven holes leaving him two over before he picked up his ball on the third green (his 12th hole) and told his playing partners Rickie Fowler and Billy Horschel he was through for the day.
Earlier in the round Woods was seen holding his back which was a very bad sign given that he is coming off of back surgery last year. Tiger claims things were fine until his tee time was delayed when extreme fog rolled in over the coast hampering visibility.
“I was ready to go, I had a good warm-up session the first time around,” Tiger said. “Then we stood out here and I got cold and everything started deactivating again. It’s frustrating that I just can’t stay activated. My back just never loosened up… and got progressively worse. It’s just my glutes are shutting off. Then they don’t activate and then, hence, it goes into my lower back.”
Tiger ‘s health issues and his shockingly bad play reinforces arguments of critics who say Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors has nothing to fear. Woods ranking has plummeted to number 56.
Brandel Chamblee of the Golf Channels said last week that Tiger’s short game display at last week’s Phoenix Open was “the worst I’ve ever seen a tour pro around the greens and it is a long way from there to playing competitive golf again.”
This all being said, Woods who has won at Torrey Pines eight times including his days as a Junior Golfer is still a huge draw for fans. Playing partner Billy Horschel observed that, “We went from 600 or 700 people watching us to 50, so we became chopped liver,”
According to Golf Channel he and Rickie Fowler had a good laugh regarding the bail out by fans after Tiger withdrew. “Basically, it was 50 people watching us,” Horschel noted. “Rickie has probably 45 of them that live in San Diego. I’ve got five, and just because I won the FedEx Cup and they still don’t even know who I am.”