Tiger Woods added his own dramatic chapter to the Honda Classic on Sunday night when he quit mid-round with a recurrence of the back injury that forced him out of the final day of the Barclays six months ago.
Last year it was Rory McIlroy who walked off the same course half way through his second round citing toothache. Woods was five over for his round when he tapped in for par at the 13th. It was his last contribution to the tournament save for apologising to his playing partner Luke Guthrie and the event organisers.
Woods, who walked from the green holding the hand of his daughter, Sam, stopped briefly to give a statement to his press aide before driving the short journey home. His departure left his defence of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral this week in doubt.
With the first major of the season, the Masters, only five weeks away, it would not be a surprise were Woods not to line up in Miami, where he also met a premature end with knee trouble two years ago. “It’s my lower back with spasms,” Woods said. “It started this morning warming up. It’s too early to tell about Doral. I’ll have treatment every day and we will see about Thursday.”
According to the PGA Tour it was the sixth time Woods has been forced to withdraw through injury in 297 tour starts.
Overnight leader McIlroy reached the turn one over par for his round to start the turn for home with a one-shot advantage. McIlroy began the day with a two-shot lead but his laser-like form with the putter deserted him.
He was not helped by misfortune at the ninth, where he required two shots to escape a greenside bunker after his ball lodged in the face.
Lee Westwood endured a torrid end to the week dropping three shots over the closing two holes, including a double bogey at the last for a 74. Paul Casey showed encouraging signs of a return to form with a final round 67 to enter the clubhouse with in a share of 13th place.