Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods withdraws from Dubai Desert Classic after complaining of recurring back pain

World number 666 withdraws from the Dubai event after claiming he was unable to tee up a shot due to back pain

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 February, 2017, 3:39pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 February, 2017, 4:10pm

Former world number one Tiger Woods has pulled out of the Dubai Desert Classic ahead of his second round because of a back problem, the European Tour said on Friday.

The American 14-time major champion, now ranked 666th after his long injury layoff due to back problems, recorded a miserable five-over 77 on the opening day on Thursday.

Appearing for the eighth time in Dubai, where he has won twice with a 92-under par record for the 28 rounds played there since 2001, the 41-year-old Woods looked out of sorts as he continued his comeback at the European Tour event.

His chances of avoiding another early exit looked slim on Thursday, however, with the American appearing to be in some discomfort as he struggled to find a rhythm.

After his round, Woods said he was not in any pain on the course but decided to withdraw on Friday morning, trailing overnight leader Sergio Garcia by 12 shots.

Woods had also looked rusty last week when he played his first full-field PGA Tour event in 17 months after being sidelined by back pain and spine surgery, and missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

The Dubai tournament was the second of his long-awaited comeback.

After his opening round the former world number one said: “Hopefully, this wind blows tomorrow and I get back to even par now. That’s certainly not out of the realms.”

“It’s going to be tough, and hopefully it is tough and I can play a really solid round and give myself more looks,” added Woods.