Tiger Woods walked out of the lucrative Players Championship after just nine holes at Sawgrass today.
Playing for the first time since suffering knee and Achilles injuries in The Masters a month ago, Woods covered the outward half in a six over par 42 and was in joint last place 10 shots off the pace when he decided not to go on at the sport's richest event.
The former world No 1, who also quit the event on the final day last year with neck trouble, had started practising again only on Monday and was struggling from his very first shot.
A drive into the left rough there led to a bogey five and then came a triple bogey seven on the fourth and further dropped shots at the fifth and long ninth.
At the 384-yard fourth he hit a 133-yard pitch into the water short of the green and then went in again with his chip.
Woods, who has not won a tournament for 18 months now, had to hole a putt of almost 18 feet to avoid an eight and after missing the green at the fifth as well he chipped into a bunker at the ninth and failed to get up and down from there.
At that point he was bringing up the rear with Canada's Stephen Ames – another former winner of the title.
Woods could well fall out of the world's top 10 because of his withdrawal. He has already dropped to eighth during the longest barren spell of his career.
England's Brian Davis, in stark contrast, made a brilliant start and after 11 holes was five under par and joint leader with Americans Jason Dufner and Lucas Glover, winner of last week's Wells Fargo Championship.
Woods had said on Tuesday: "The knee is better, no doubt. The Achilles is better as well, so I'm here playing.
"It is what it is. The whole idea is that I peak four times a year and I'm trying to get ready for Congressional (the US Open on June 16-19) and I need some playing time.
"I missed playing last week, but I really want to get out there. This is a big event."
The 35-year-old has had four knee operations, one of them a reconstruction that kept him out of the sport for eight months after he won his 14th – and last – major on one good leg at the 2008 US Open.
He has been having intensive treatment and taking anti-inflammatories, but when asked his expectations for the week replied: "Same as always, try and win the event. Nothing has changed."