Woods withdraws with back injury

Tiger Woods pulled out of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday after hurting his back while hitting out of the rough.

Playing just his third event since undergoing microdiscectomy surgery in March, Woods was four over par after eight holes when he pulled out on the ninth hole at Firestone Country Club.

The former world number one looked to be in severe pain after hitting his final tee shot, and his withdrawal has sparked fears that he may have suffered further serious damage to his back.

Asked if he had suffered the same injury which led to surgery on March 31, Woods told reporters: “It’s just the whole lower back.

“It happened on the second hole when I hit my second shot. I fell back into the bunker. Just jarred it. It’s been spasming ever since.”

On his prospects of playing in the US PGA Championship next week at Valhalla, he added: “I don’t know, (I’m) just trying to get out of here.”

European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, who is commentating at the Bridgestone, said: “He looks like he’s maybe come back too early. The way he played I saw him hit shots on the front nine there that I’ve never seen him in his life come close to hitting. There’s obviously something going on.”