Tiger Woods announced Friday that he would miss the next few weeks with "ongoing back spasms." Woods withdrew from the Dubai Desert Classic last week with the same injury.
This came just one week after his first official tournament back on the PGA Tour since August 2015. Woods missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open on Jan. 27.
He got in all of three official rounds on the PGA Tour and European Tour before having to withdraw from golf for at least a couple of weeks. Woods also played four rounds at the Hero World Challenge in December. That event is not an official part of the PGA Tour schedule.
Woods was slated to play the Genesis Open next week and the Honda Classic the week after that, but he will skip both and seemingly aim for a mid-March return at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
"My doctors have advised me not to play the next two weeks, to continue my treatment and to let my back calm down," Woods wrote on his website. "This is not what I was hoping for or expecting. I am extremely disappointed to miss the Genesis Open, a tournament that benefits my foundation, and The Honda Classic, my hometown event. I would like to thank Genesis for their support, and I know we will have an outstanding week."
Woods noted in a recent interview with former R&A CEO Peter Dawson that his aim every year is to be ready for the Masters, which is two months away.
"The whole plan was to get my body, mind and spirit ready for that first full week in April," Woods told Dawson. "I've done it four times; I'd love to do it a fifth."
This is certainly a setback toward that goal.
Maybe this is just how it's going to be in the future for Woods. He noted in that Dawson interview that he feels "good, not great," which might just be the new normal for a once-superhuman athlete.
It will be a frustrating end to an incredible career if Woods cannot play for long stretches of time. Maybe he just cuts down on the schedule, though, and only plays 6-8 times a year including the majors. That would be a nice compromise, wouldn't it? We get Woods six times a year. He gets to keep protecting his back and taking swings at big boy trophies.
Whatever the case, this latest speed bump for Woods does not portend well for a healthy long-term future. Woods went 17 months between official PGA Tour events. This is presumably the apex of him being healthy, and he could not even make it through three rounds.
Hopefully that changes in the future. My fear is that it will not.