Golf: Woods to stick to spasmodic activities

Tiger Woods of the US reacting after playing a shot during the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai.
Tiger Woods of the US reacting after playing a shot during the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai. PHOTO: AFP

Medical advice after recurrent back spasms is for golfer to cut down on his commitments

TORONTO • Tiger Woods has been advised to limit his activities as he battles back spasms that have hindered his return to competition.

Although he had already withdrawn from this week's Genesis Open, as tournament host he was supposed to give a press conference on Wednesday, but cancelled it.

"After receiving daily treatment the last several days on his ongoing back spasms, Tiger Woods has again been advised by doctors to limit all activities and will not hold a press conference on Wednesday," tournament officials said in a statement.

Woods, the 14-time Major champion trying to rebuild his career after multiple back operations that benched him for more than a year, pulled out of the European Tour's Dubai Desert Classic before announcing his withdrawal from this week's Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club and the Honda Classic near his Florida home next week.

He returned to action last December after a 15-month layoff and has played in just three tournaments.

He finished 15th out of 18 at the Hero World Challenge, missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open and exited the Dubai Desert Classic after just one round.

In a statement on his website last week, the 41-year-old said a "possible playing schedule" for March and beyond would be determined after his back had been reassessed, with time ticking away as the Masters - the first Major tournament of the year - looms on April 6-9.

Australia's world No. 1 Jason Day, who has battled back trouble of his own, noted that Woods is in the difficult position now of needing to play to hone his game, but needing to rest his back.

"I think it's a double-edged sword because he has to come out and play and play tournament golf, but you have to watch also your back and make sure that's healthy," Day said.

"Because you have to play golf to get tournament ready and get the competitive rounds under your belt and get those juices flowing again, but also in the same regard (what) you have to be wary of is your back, 100 per cent."

He hopes to see Woods back in action without injury concerns before the end of the year.

"I just want to see him back competitively playing and not having to have the injury kind of doubt in your mind," he said.

The Masters is seven weeks away and although Woods had earlier claimed that he was fighting hard to be ready for the tournament, it seems likely to be a far-fetched dream now.

"The whole plan was to get my body, mind and spirit ready for that first full week in April," the American said in Dubai.

It is an ambitious thought as things stand. But it is also exactly that kind of thought - the sliver of possibility that his body, mind and spirit will be ready, that the past will emerge again - that keeps the golfing world wondering with Woods.

In this limbo, the people who are watching him cannot fully embrace who he once was and let go of wondering whether he ever will be that again.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2017, with the headline 'Woods to pare back physical activity'. Print Edition | Subscribe