After withdrawing from the Genesis Open and Honda Classic last week due to back spasms, Tiger Woods has stirred up more speculation about his future by canceling his Genesis press conference. His agent, Mark Steinberg, cited the absence as “precautionary.” Riviera Country Club announced on Tuesday that Woods would not be holding the conference because of medical advice to “limit all activities.” Steinberg also said:
This isn’t about him not doing a press conference. What is going to be accomplished? What is he going to say? That he hopes his back spasms calm down.
This is about the Genesis Open, the Tiger Woods Foundation and supporting Hyundai and his foundation. He is doing all he can without having to get up and move around all that much so that he can put himself in the best position to recover.”
Regardless, this latest setback adds more to growing speculation that Woods may be close to retirement, which if true, would be very unfortunate. Woods has been no stranger to major injuries over the last decade (knee, multiple back surgeries, nerve issues). Having missed almost a year and a half after his back surgeries in 2015, the 14-time major winner returned to the game last December and had an encouraging outing at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
This year, however, has already been unkind to Woods. He did not make the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open and had to withdraw from the Dubai Desert Classic due to the same back spasms that are still ailing him. Steinberg added as much saying, “He is just having a hard time getting these spasms to calm down.” He also had this to say about Woods potentially retiring:
“To the outside world, it’s up to you to draw that conclusion. Tiger remains pretty confident in the fact that these spams are something he knows will calm down. He’s just working around the clock to make that happen. He’s got an intense dedication to get back to the point where he can be out there practicing and in public and working toward his goal.”
Him being in a rest position is the most important thing right now. He flew out here fairly comfortably, and he did that because he cares about the tournament, Hyundai and his foundation. He wanted to give it his best effort, because the spams have not completely calmed down. He is hoping he can get to a point soon where that is alleviated.”
Not only has Woods’s playing availability been spotty since 2013, but even when he has been able to compete, he has not looked anything close to his former self. Hopefully the back spasms are a temporary setback and we will see Woods return and play well again at some point.