Dressed in his Sunday red shirt, Tiger Woods bowed his head and sat in silence in front of his locker. He was supposed to be on the ninth hole at The Players Championship. In another stunning twist for someone whose life used to be so predictable, Woods withdrew suddenly with neck pain that he fears might be a bulging disk.
Woods was so frustrated that he slammed his golf shoe to the floor while taking questions from three reporters.
"I've been playing through it," Woods said of pain he first felt before the Masters. "I can't play through it anymore."
Woods said he did not know what caused the injury, only that "playing doesn't help it." He took 10 questions before going into a physical therapy trailer for 37 minutes and leaving the TPC Sawgrass.
"I knew his neck had been bothering him but Tiger doesn't ever make excuses, so it was hatd (hard) to tell just how bad it was," swing coach Hank Haney said in a text message to The Associated Press. "Having said that he won the US Open on a broken leg and if he couldn't play anymore today it must be pretty bad."
This is Woods' first withdrawal from a tournament since the Nissan Open at Riviera in 2006, when he narrowly made the cut and withdrew from the final two rounds because of the flu. He also withdrew from the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills as a 19-year-old amateur because of a wrist injury from hitting out of deep rough.
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