Woods with­draws with in­jury to Achilles

Sta­tus un­cer­tain for the Mas­ters

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports - BY DOUG FER­GU­SON

DO­RAL, FLA. | Tiger Woods’ road to the Mas­ters took a sur­pris­ing de­tour Sun­day when he with­drew af­ter 11 holes in the Cadil­lac Cham­pi­onship be­cause of sore­ness in his left Achilles ten­don.

Justin Rose de­feated Bubba Wat­son by one stroke and Rory Mcil­roy by two shots for his first World Golf Cham­pi­onship ti­tle.

Rose had to make up a three-shot deficit against Bubba Wat­son, and then a two-shot deficit against Kee­gan Bradley. Rose was steady down the stretch, even with a bo­gey from the bunker on the 18th hole, and closed with a 2-un­der 70 to win the Cadil­lac Cham­pi­onship.

Wat­son, as al­ways, made it in­ter­est­ing. He hit a bul­let of a 4-iron out of the palm trees to just in­side 10 feet for a chance to force a play­off. His birdie putt missed on the low side, end­ing a wild day even by his stan­dards. He closed with a 74.

Rose fin­ished on 16-un­der 272 for his 10th vic­tory world­wide, mov­ing him back into the top 10 of a world rank­ing that re­mains loaded with Euro­peans.

It was a day that left lit­tle doubt about Mcil­roy’s spot atop the world rank­ing. Just like Woods in pre­vi­ous years, Mcil­roy showed he could never be counted out with an ar­ray of splen­did shots — most of them from pre­car­i­ous spots in the bunker — and threat­ened to win.

For Woods, it’s the same Achilles that he in­jured last year at Au­gusta Na­tional, which even­tu­ally caused Woods to miss two ma­jors last year.

The sever­ity of this in­jury won’t be known un­til Woods has it eval­u­ated.

He was 3-over par in the final round at Do­ral, 10 shots out of the lead, when he hit a 321-yard tee shot on the par-5 12th hole, shook hands with Webb Simp­son and left in a cart.

“I felt tight­ness in my left Achilles warm­ing up this morn­ing, and it con­tin­ued to get pro­gres­sively worse,” Woods said in a state­ment. “Af­ter hit­ting my tee shot at 12, I de­cided it was nec­es­sary to with­draw. In the past, I may have tried to con­tinue to play, but this time, I de­cided to do what I thought was nec­es­sary.”

NBC Sports showed Woods be­hind the wheel as he drove away from Do­ral in a black sedan.

“I didn’t re­ally no­tice any­thing,” Simp­son said. “I wasn’t pay­ing much at­ten­tion, but it looked like he made a swing on 12 that re­ally hurt. But didn’t say a whole lot. Class act. Shook my hand. Off he went.”

Woods is to play in two weeks at Bay Hill, his last tour­na­ment be­fore the Mas­ters. Woods is a four-time cham­pion at Au­gusta Na­tional, and with an or­di­nary game, he still has tied for fourth the past two years.

“It’s a shame be­cause he looked like he was com­ing out this year, swing­ing it re­ally well, play­ing good, get­ting him­self into con­tention,” said Rory Mcil­roy, who held off Woods’ charge last week at the Honda Clas­sic. “It’s prob­a­bly just pre­cau­tion­ary, but I re­ally hope he’s healthy for the Mas­ters.”

Do­ral was Woods’ third straight tour­na­ment. He lost in the sec­ond round of the Match Play Cham­pi­onship, then shot 62 to tie for sec­ond in the Honda. When asked af­ter the third round Satur­day at Do­ral how is body was hold­ing up through this stretch, he replied, “It feels great.”

Steve Stricker played with him in the third round Satur­day and said he didn’t no­tice any­thing out of the or­di­nary.

“He al­ways walks with a limp a lit­tle bit,” Stricker said. “I no­ticed it a lit­tle bit again. I thought maybe that’s some­thing he al­ways has, like a habit.”

Woods changed shoes at the turn and was lift­ing his left leg, slightly flex­ing his an­kle. His limp be­came more pro­nounced, es­pe­cially af­ter he pulled his sec­ond shot on the par-5 10th, lead­ing to bo­gey. The limp grew worse, and mo­ments later, Woods was gone.

It’s the third time in three years that Woods has with­drawn from a tour­na­ment.

Woods has had four surg­eries on his left knee dat­ing to when he was at Stan­ford. The most sig­nif­i­cant was in June 2008, when he had re­con­struc­tive surgery to re­pair lig­a­ments just a week af­ter win­ning the U.S. Open for his 14th ma­jor.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.