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Pain game: Tiger Woods is facing an uncertain future due to injury woes

Pain game: Tiger Woods is facing an uncertain future due to injury woes

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Pain game: Tiger Woods is facing an uncertain future due to injury woes

Tiger Woods' future may be shrouded in doubt but the golfing superstar is confident he will be back despite his exit from the Farmers Insurance Open in California.

Fog had led to a lengthy suspension of play before Woods teed off, and he said the disruption to his warm-up routine had caused his back problems to flare up.

Woods, who missed last year's Masters and US Open after having surgery on a pinched nerve, managed only 11 holes in his first round at Torrey Pines before pulling out of the tournament.

The 14-time Major winner appeared to hurt his back after hitting his tee shot at the 12th - his third hole of the day - but carried on for eight more holes before calling it a day.

"When we had that break I never loosened back up again and then when we went back out it got progressively tighter," he said.

"It's frustrating that it started shutting down like that. I was ready to go. I had a good warm-up session and then we stood out here getting cold and everything deactivated again. I just can't stay activated. That's the way it is," he added.

Woods said this was the first time he has experienced such a situation as he tries to manage his comeback.

"Usually you don't have to wait like this," he said.

"At home practising I keep going and keep going. This is different.

"My glutes (gluteus maximus muscles) are shutting off. If they don't activate it goes into the lower back. I tried to activate my glutes best I could but they didn't stay activated."

The 39-year-old former world number one was two-over-par when he withdrew, having double-bogeyed his final hole while also dropping shots at the 10th and 12th.

He had chipped in for par on the second hole, but it was a rare highlight in another wayward outing.

Woods' injury comes just six days after he recorded the worst round of his career when he shot an 11-over-par 82 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

It was the ninth withdrawal of his career, but his third in the last eight events he has started, leading many to doubt whether he can ever again return to the top of the game.

He has not won a PGA Tour event since 2013 and has not won a major since 2008.

Woods was sidelined for much of 2014 after he underwent surgery in April and has suffered indifferent form ever since.

The American finished 69th at the Open at Royal Liverpool in July, while a month later he missed just his fourth cut in 66 majors as a professional after suffering yet more back trouble at the US PGA Championship at Valhalla.

Woods subsequently ruled himself out of consideration for a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September because of injury and later revealed he did not feel he could have won a point for the United States.

Woods made an underwhelming return to golf by shooting a five-over-par first round at the Hero World Challenge in December.

Meanwhile, former World Number One Lee Westwood is set to make his long-awaited return to Ireland by confirming he will join a world class field in the 2015 Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down from May 28 to 31.

Ireland has been a happy hunting ground for the 41-year-old Englishman down the years, but this will be the first time that Westwood has teed up in Northern Ireland, home of his Ryder Cup colleague and tournament host Rory McIlroy.

Westwood said: "I'm really looking forward to playing. I've heard a lot about the golf course - County Down has that legendary status."

Westwood is currently in fine form, the defending champion and Spaniard Alejandro Canizares moving three shots clear at the halfway stage of the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur.

Ulsterman Graeme McDowell struggled in the second round after sharing the first round lead with Westwood.

Belfast Telegraph