Woods was 5 over par through 13 holes when he pulled out of the tournament.
The world No. 1 said in a statement that he was in discomfort during warm-ups and that the issue was similar to what he experienced during last year’s Barclays, when he fell to his knees in pain during the final round.
On Sunday, Woods repeatedly stretched his back but did not wince after any shot. He putted out on the 13th hole, shook hands with his fellow playing competitor, Luke Guthrie, and was taken away in a white van. This is his seventh career WD, and fourth in the past five years.
WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, where he is the defending champion, Woods said in a statement: “It’s too early to tell. I need treatment every day until Thursday to try to calm it down. We’ll see how it is. It’s the same feeling I had as Barclays.”
This is the second year in a row that the world No. 1-ranked player has withdrawn from this event in the middle of a round. Last year Rory McIlroy walked off the course after nine holes of his second round. He initially blamed a toothache, but later admitted it was frustration with his game.
Other than Doral, Woods’ only other scheduled start before the Masters was the Arnold Palmer Invitational, on March 20-23.
The back injury was one of the main reasons why Woods shelved the clubs during the offseason. The inactivity has showed in his first three starts of the season, as he is off to his worst start as a pro.
Woods tied for 80th at Torrey Pines – where he has won eight times – after missing the 54-hole cut, then tied for 41st in Dubai.
At the Honda, Woods shot rounds of 71-69 to make the cut on the number. After surging into the top 20 with a Saturday 65, he was out of sorts from the outset Sunday, playing his first six holes in 5 over.