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Woods Reinjures Knee, Withdraws from Players Championship
Tiger Woods reinjured his left knee on his opening tee shot in the first round of the Players Championship. He continued playing, however, but with an obvious limp. After nine holes and shooting a 6-over 42, he withdrew.
The same thing happened last year in the $9.5 million event; in 2010 he pulled out in the final round with 12 holes to play with a neck injury. On Thursday, after finishing the ninth hole, he shook hands with playing partners Martin Kaymer and Matt Kuchar and said he couldn't continue.
"I was just trying to draw that ball out there just a little bit. I pushed forward, and you know it just didn't feel good," Woods said about his first tee shot. "The knee acted up and then the Achilles' followed after that and then the calf started cramping up. Everything started getting tight, so it's just a whole chain reaction. This morning, I felt fine during warm-up, and then as I played, it progressively got worse. I'm having a hard time walking."
Kuchar could tell that something was wrong. "Tiger looked like he was in pain today," said Kuchar, who posted a 3-under 69. "Looked like you could tell he was walking quite slowly, quite gingerly it seemed like. He was just last to get to his ball every time as he was just walking so gingerly. It was funny, it looked like he was putting it great and driving it great, but the clubs, other than those two, weren't so good for him today."
Kaymer, who shot a 67 and is near the top of the leaderboard early, said he had to adjust his pace of play with just two players in the group. "You can walk very slow, your routine, you have plenty of time, and you're still waiting. Obviously it would have been nice if we wouldn't play in the heat; that would have been better. But it's always nice to play in a twosome. You don't have to wait; you just play your game. You have time to think about your shots sometimes if you need to. Nobody is rushing you.
"But on the other hand it would have been nice to play with Tiger another 27 holes," the German star added. "I just played with him once in Dubai for 36 holes, and obviously when he's around it's a little bit different and more people. Usually when you play a threesome or a twosome on the weekends, you know how many people are following you. But with Tiger there are more cameras, more media people inside the ropes, so it would be nice for me, as well, to get used to those things more often."
Woods has endured four operations on his left knee. He hadn't played a competitive round since the Masters, when he also hurt his left Achilles' in the third round while hitting a shot from an awkward lie off pine straw. He hadn't practiced for 28 days and only started hitting practice balls on Monday. He played his first nine holes since the Masters on Tuesday.
Woods said Thursday that his doctors gave him the go-ahead to play this week. "They said I could play. The more rest I get, the better it would be, obviously," Woods said. "Obviously, it's a big event. I want to come back for it and play, and unfortunately I wasn't able to finish."
When asked about his chances to play in the U.S. Open at Congressional next month, he remarked, "I don't know," Woods said. "I just finished nine holes. Give me a few days to see what the docs say, and we'll take a look at it."
He added he was surprised that the knee gave him problems. "The treatment's been good. It's been getting better," he said. "It just wasn't enough. It's hard to put muscle pressure on it right now, so it's a bit of a struggle."
After leaving the course, Woods, who carded three bogeys and a triple-bogey on the par-4 fourth hole, met with reporters. Here's what he told them..
Q. Tiger, was it from the start or was it a particular shot?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the first tee shot.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the knee acted up and then the Achilles followed after that and then the calf started cramping up. Everything started getting tight, so it's just a whole chain reaction.
Q. You had to hit some creative shots right out of the chute, pine straw out of the second one, and uphill lie?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the pine shot didn't help because my foot slipped, my left foot slipped. It obviously would have probably felt better if it would have held.
Q. Anyway to tell going forward what happens? Are you back to square one?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know. I just finished nine holes. Give me a few days to see what the docs say, and we'll take a look at it.
Q. How bad is the pain right now?
TIGER WOODS: I'm having a hard time walking.
Q. Did this happen after any practice rounds or anything where your knee felt poorly and you just --
TIGER WOODS: The Achilles and knee would be sore, but you're not worse than what icing and treatment wouldn't do at night. So this morning, felt fine during warm-up, and then as I played, it progressively got worse.
Q. Are you surprised this came about today?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, actually I am. The treatment's been good. It's been getting better. It just wasn't enough.
Q. Was the pain as bad as it was at Torrey?
TIGER WOODS: No, no, my leg was broken there. So no, not quite that bad.
Q. Anything unusual about the first tee shot? I mean, pine shot you can understand.
TIGER WOODS: I was just trying to draw that ball out there just a little bit. I pushed forward, and you know it just didn't feel good.
Q. Do you have any worries?
TIGER WOODS: I know I have. But it's just a matter of what we're going to do about it.
Q. Might it have been advisable to come off earlier?
TIGER WOODS: Probably.
Q. The shot on 4, was that leg related?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the tee shot was. It grabbed me on the tee shot there but the pitch shots weren't. Those were just bad pitch shots. Those were just awful.
Q. Your left leg was like you were hanging back?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know. We'll talk about it and figure it what went well. Say again, I'm sorry.
Q. So it was physical? Putting pressure into the left leg, is that what you're feeling?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's hard to put muscle pressure on it right now, so it's a bit of a struggle.
Q. Did your doctors say it's going to be okay if you do this, or did they advise you not to?
TIGER WOODS: They said I could play. The more rest I get, the better it would be, obviously. Obviously, it's a big event. I want to come back for it and play, and unfortunately I wasn't able to finish.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.