Tiger Woods’s participation in next month’s Masters Tournament is in question after he withdrew from the Cadillac Championship because of tightness in his left Achilles tendon.
Woods said he’ll have the injury examined this week before making a decision about his playing future. He’s next scheduled to play at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Florida, which begins March 22, two weeks before the April 5 start of the Masters, the first major championship of the golf season.
“I felt tightness in my left Achilles warming up,” Woods said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. “It continued to get progressively worse. After hitting my tee shot at 12, I decided it was necessary to withdraw.”
Woods, 36, has had four operations during his career on his left knee, most recently in 2008 when he had reconstructive surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He missed the U.S. Open and British Open last season after injuring his left knee and Achilles tendon at the Masters.
“In the past, I may have tried to continue to play,” Woods said in his statement. “This time I decided to do what I thought was necessary.”
Woods, who was playing in his third straight event on the tour, completed 11 holes of yesterday’s final round at the TPC Blue Monster course at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami. Justin Rose won the Cadillac Championship by one shot over Bubba Watson for his fourth title on the PGA Tour.
Woods was listed last week as a 5-1 favorite by the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino’s sportsbook to win the Masters. His odds moved to 8-1 following yesterday’s injury and his quest for a fifth title at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, will likely depend on his recovery.
Woods, whose 14 major titles trail only Jack Nicklaus’s 18, was 6-under par for the tournament and 3-over for the final round when he stopped playing. He changed shoes after completing nine holes and made bogeys on three of his final five holes.
After hitting his tee shot on the par-5 12th hole, Woods was taken on a golf cart to the parking lot. He got in a courtesy car with caddie Joe LaCava, received ice packs from PGA Tour medical personnel and left the property.
Webb Simpson, Woods’s playing partner yesterday, said his final swing looked like it “really hurt.”
“He didn’t say a whole lot, but his expression was enough that he was in enough pain to end it,” Simpson told reporters.
Rose overcame a three-shot deficit to 54-hole leader Watson to win the title yesterday. The 31-year-old from England shot a final-round 2-under-par 70 to finish the tournament at 16-under- par 272. Watson was 2-over par on the final day and missed a putt on the final green that would have forced a playoff.
Woods won the most recent of his 71 PGA Tour events in September 2009, two months before a one-vehicle accident near his Florida home led to revelations of extramarital affairs and the end of his marriage.
He took a break of almost three months last season following the Masters, where he tied for fourth place. After sitting out the next two major championships, Woods missed the cut for weekend play at the PGA Championship.
Woods helped the U.S. capture the Presidents Cup team competition in Australia and won a limited-field tournament he hosts in California in December, his lone stroke-play victory over the past two years.
He tied for third place in his season-opening event in Abu Dhabi in January and was runner-up alongside Tom Gillis at the Honda Classic March 4 after shooting a final-round 62. It was the best final-round score of Woods’s PGA Tour career.
“It’s a shame, because he looked like he was coming out this year, swinging it really well, playing good, getting himself into contention,” Rory McIlroy, golf’s No. 1-ranked player, told reporters. “I really hope he’s healthy for the Masters, because obviously it would be a great week with him there. He can spark an interest in golf that no one else can.”
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