Woods exits with injury

Clark wins first PGA event

Final round of The Players Championship overshadowed by departure

May 10, 2010|By Tribune Newspapers

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLA. — — That bizarre Thanksgiving night SUV wreck still may be haunting Tiger Woods — on the golf course. And suddenly, his health for another U.S. Open might be in jeopardy.

Woods withdrew midway through Sunday's final round at The Players Championship, complaining of a neck injury that he revealed for the first time has been bothering him for weeks. South African Tim Clark shot a final-round 67 to finish at 16-under-par and defeat Australian Robert Allenby by one shot to win the tournament. It was Clark's first career PGA Tour victory.

But Woods' exit overshadowed the final round.

Woods grimaced in pain after a wayward drive soared well right of the fairway at No. 7, then asked a marshal to call for assistance. He tracked down his ball and played a shot that landed in front of the green, then walked over to tell playing partner Jason Bohn he wouldn't continue.

"I've been playing with a bad neck for quite a while," Woods told a pool reporter after he was carted off to the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse.

He said doctors have told him he might have a bulging disk and advised him even before The Players to make an appointment for a magnetic resonance imaging.

"I've been playing through it. I can't play through it anymore," he said. "There's tingling down my fingers."

It was the first time golf's No. 1 draw has publicly mentioned any recurring neck problems. Woods acknowledged at his first post-exile Masters news conference that the Nov. 27 accident outside his Isleworth home left him with a "pretty sore neck" — but it never came up when he missed the cut at last week's stop in Charlotte, N.C.

Woods backed into a fire hydrant and careened into a tree that night, leaving him dazed and requiring a trip to the emergency room.

The accident led to revelations of a string of affairs that shattered his marriage and prompted him to step away from the game while he spent seven weeks in counseling.

Woods was 2-over through Sunday's six holes. Bohn said he was "a little surprised" at first to see Woods walking over to explain that his day was finished.

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