x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Back injury preventing Woods from being masterful

Since winning his last major at the 2008 US Open, Tiger Woods’s medical chart has grown thicker than his playing resume and now an appearance at the Masters in three weeks may be in question.

Tiger Woods, left, and Arnold Palmer share a laugh during the trophy presentation after Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament in Orlando, Florida on March 25, 2013. Because of a bad back, Woods will not be able to defend his title this weekend. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
Tiger Woods, left, and Arnold Palmer share a laugh during the trophy presentation after Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament in Orlando, Florida on March 25, 2013. Because of a bad back, Woods will not be able to defend his title this weekend. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

It is part of the polite exchange of pleasantries when engaged in conversation with the older set. The first topic usually relates to the weather, followed by the compulsory health question.

Almost without fail, when somebody is on the phone with an 84-year-old man, it is the latter who does the beefing about medical issues.

That was not the case late Tuesday night when Tiger Woods, 38, phoned elder statesman Arnold Palmer to withdraw this week from the tournament named in the latter’s honour.

“He called me to tell me that his back was still giving him a lot of trouble and he didn’t feel he should play,” Palmer said. “I told him I understood and wished him well.”

This is a Richter-rattling tremor that could still be causing aftershocks in three weeks, when the Masters is staged. Since winning his last major at the 2008 US Open, Woods’s medical chart has grown thicker than his playing resume. The injury-related absences are too many to document here.

If Woods is skipping this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, an event he has won a record eight times, then there is rightful cause for concern. After all, Woods spent the off-season focusing on getting his ailing back in shape for 2014, with little tangible effect.

Woods has not won the Masters since 2005 and has never missed the event as a professional. At this point, the first streak seems likely to be extended, as the last one is possibly ended.

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