Sports, Golf

Woods pulls out of Genesis Invitational

Published : 17 Feb 2024 09:49 PM

Golf superstar Tiger Woods withdrew in the second round of the Genesis Invitational because of illness on Friday in the latest setback for the 15-time major champion.

The US PGA Tour said Woods pulled out after hitting his tee shot at the seventh hole because of illness, with no immediate word on the nature or severity of the trouble.

Woods buried his face in his hands as he was ferried from the course in a golf cart, his first official PGA Tour event since he withdrew from the rain-delayed third round of the Masters last April.

Two weeks later Woods had ankle surgery to address lingering pain in his right foot from injuries suffered in a 2021 car crash.

Woods has played only nine official events in the last four seasons. He has missed the cut twice and withdrawn three times.

He said his ankle procedure last year alleviated debilitating pain, but that his banged-up body will never again let him practice and play as he did in his prime.

Woods said Thursday that back spasms contributed to a surprising shank at the 18th hole of his one-over par first round.

There was no indication that any of the myriad infirmities that he says affect him every round contributed to Friday's withdrawal, but even if his illness is fleeting it has cost him valuable playing time.

The 48-year-old said in December at the unofficial Hero World Challenge that he hoped his various physical problems would allow him to play up to one tournament a month.

After his first competitive round in more than 10 months on Thursday he admitted the jury was still out on whether that plan would pan out and whether it would even allow him to be competitive.

"I'm hoping that's the case, hoping that I play that much," Woods said. "As far as the physical ups and downs, that's just part of my body, that's part of what it is.

"That's all right, I accept it and accept the challenges," he said.

Woods acknowledged on Thursday that he lacked "sharpness".

He said he struggled to adjust to the speed of the greens, part of an overall inability to make adjustments "on the fly."

Woods would have been battling to make the cut in the elite event. He opened Friday with a birdie at the par-five first but bogeyed the fourth and fifth and was two-over for the tournament.

Patrick Cantlay had the early second-round lead at 11-under par.

As always, Woods drew large, enthusiastic galleries.

Max Homa, who won the tournament in 2021, said this week that Woods's return was a boon for the game.

"Every event's better when Tiger is here," Homa said. "It's pretty amazing what he brings to an event with his presence on the golf course. Obviously it's great that he's had his name attached to this, but you want to see him play, all the fans want to see him play."