Tiger's withdrawal: A setback or the end?

Photo of Tiger's withdrawal: A setback or the end?

Not again.

That was what many golf fans thought when hearing that Tiger Woods had withdrawn from the Dubai Desert Classic early Friday morning, citing back spasms suffered Thursday evening after dinner.

"He says it's not the nerve, but back spasm, and he can't get the spasms to calm down," said Woods' agent Mark Steinberg. "He can move around, but he can't make a full rotation in his swing."

The 41-year-old returned to competitive golf last week at the Farmers Insurance Open following a 17-month layoff after undergoing multiple back surgeries.

Woods stated his goal is to build toward the second weekend in April, and when he decided to play four events in five weeks, it seemed an optimistic approach. Now that goal is in doubt with this recent development.

So, is this just a setback for Woods or the end of line?

Just a setback

Ambitious schedule

Tiger hasn't yet adapted to his older self. He kept the same schedule he's always used, and played on tough courses against elite fields and difficult conditions. Woods would've been better served by playing easier tracks like Phoenix or Hawaii, not a cool Torrey Pines with U.S. Open-like rough. After the Honda Classic, it's likely he'll play Bay Hill, and then it's Augusta National. When baseball players return from the disabled list, they tend to play a few games in the minors before coming back to the major leagues.

The weather

A cool and wet Torrey Pines produced some of the worst weather conditions in Southern California while Dubai had unpredictable weather on Friday, with high winds.

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