PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Tiger Woods pulled out of his next two tournaments because of continuing back problems, creating a somber outlook for a 14-time majors champion whose comeback barely lasted three tournaments before another setback.
Woods said on Friday on his website that he was still coping with back spasms that he attributed to his withdrawal from the Dubai Desert Classic in the United Arab Emirates last week.
“My doctors have advised me not to play the next two weeks to continue my treatment and to let my back calm down,” Woods said. “This is not what I was hoping for or expecting.”
The Tiger Woods Foundation now runs the Genesis Open at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, and Woods was expected to play there next week for the first time since 2006. He also withdrew from the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., which is close to his home.
Woods said he would still go to Riviera to support the tournament.
Woods was out of golf for 15 months while recovering from three back surgeries — the first one a week before the 2014 Masters, the most recent one in October 2015 — and returned with high hopes at an unofficial event in the Bahamas in the first week of December. Woods made 24 birdies to offset a litany of mistakes and finished 15th in an 18-man field.
His return to a full field did not last long. He did not make the cut at Torrey Pines in California, and he lasted only one round at Dubai, where he shot 77 and gingerly walked on the putting greens and climbed out of bunkers. He cited back spasms the next day when he withdrew.
Earlier in the week, Woods said in a promotional interview that he did not think he would “ever feel great” again because of the surgeries. The interview was with Peter Dawson, the former R&A chief executive who now promotes golf in Dubai.
“I feel good, not great,” Woods said in the interview. “Granted, I don’t think I’ll ever feel great because it’s three back surgeries, four knee operations. I’m always going to be a little sore. It’s just the way it is. As long as I can function, and function at a good enough level, I’m fine with that.”
Woods won the last of his 14 majors at Torrey Pines in the 2008 United States Open. Then he was out for the next eight months after reconstructive knee surgery. The last of his 79 PGA Tour victories was in August 2013 at the Bridgestone Invitational.
His statement did not indicate when he would return, but because Woods has been out of golf for so long — he is ranked 674th — he is not eligible for the two World Golf Championships events in March.
That would leave either the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook in Florida from March 9 to 12 — an event he has never played — or the Arnold Palmer Invitational the next week at Bay Hill in Florida, where he has won eight times. Woods has never played the week before the Masters, which begins April 6.
At Torrey Pines, and in the interview at Dubai, Woods said that his focus was to get ready for Augusta National.
“The whole plan was to get body, mind and spirit ready for the first week in April,” he said.
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