Former world number one Tiger Woods has withdrawn from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic before the start of his second round due to a back injury.
Woods insisted he had not suffered a setback despite his comeback continuing in demoralising fashion, the 14-time major winner failing to card a single birdie as he slumped to an opening 77, two shots worse than his previous highest score in the event.
The 41-year-old had said on Wednesday that his latest swing has been designed to “play away from pain” as he returned to action following the injury which required three operations in the space of 19 months.
However, he did not look 100 per cent fit at various points in his round, climbing gingerly out of a greenside bunker on his first hole and notably grimacing as he walked off the tee on the seventh, his 16th.
“No, I wasn’t in pain at all,” Woods said after the first round at Emirates Golf Club. “I was just trying to hit shots and I wasn’t doing a very good job. At the end I finally hit some good ones but the damage had already been done.”