Tiger Woods withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open on Thursday after 11 holes of Round 1 on Torrey Pines' North Course. Woods complained of back pain, which appeared to be onset by a swing on the 11th hole, his second of the day.
In his last five worldwide tournaments, Woods has missed two cuts (Open Championship, Phoenix Open), withdrawn from two others (this event and in the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) and tied for last in the 18-man Hero World Challenge in December.
Naturally, people have a lot of questions. Let's answer them.
Is Tiger Woods finished?
That's the loaded question, and no one knows the answer. Since pulling out of the Honda Classic in the final round last year, Woods has only finished two tournaments: a T-25 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, after which he had surgery, and a T-69 effort at the Open Championship. Woods is fighting two losing battles, trying to rebuild his golf swing with Chris Como for the fifth time as a pro and a nagging back problem that can apparently be tweaked at any time. Back problems are worse than swing problems, primarily because they tend to lead to more back problems. If Woods isn't healthy, he can't practice or compete. If he can't do that, then he can't improve from the rock bottom we saw in Phoenix.
What's Tiger Woods' 2015 schedule from here?
Woods is scheduled to next play at the Honda Classic at the end of February. If he doesn't earn substantial world ranking points with a top-five finish, he won't qualify for the WGC-Cadillad Championship at Doral and will only play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational as his final tune-up for the Masters. Woods has said all of his preparation had been leading to this.
Has Tiger Woods tweaked his back like this previously?
He has. An awkward stance on the par-5 second hole at Firestone C.C. in the final round of the 2014 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational tweaked his back and eventually forced him to withdraw.
Did Tiger Woods fix his chipping yips?
He definitely didn't, blading multiple chip shots at Torrey Pines. However, he did show signs of progress with his wedges, holing out a par save on his second hole of the day and hitting a close wedge approach from a sidehill lie on the 16th hole, his seventh, leading to his lone birdie.