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Injured Tiger withdraws from WGC event

AKRON, Ohio--Former world number one Tiger Woods withdrew from Sunday's final round of the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational with back spasms, casting serious doubt on his status for the upcoming PGA Championship.

The final major tournament of the year tees off in four days at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, and Woods was hopeful it might signal a return to form as the 14-time major champion chases the career record of 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus.

Woods, 38, underwent back surgery March 31 to relieve pressure on a pinched nerve and this was only this third event since the operation.

He apparently injured his back again when he hit his second shot at the second hole from an awkward stance and fell backward into a bunker.

“I just jarred it and it has been spasming ever since,” Woods said. “It's just the whole lower back.”

Woods missed the cut at the PGA event he hosts in Washington in late June and finished level 69th at the British Open last month, his worst 72-hole showing in a major as a professional but his only four-round effort without pain since February.

Woods struggled to finish the round even after his injury but was 65 yards short on a par-3 hole and found a concession stand with an approach shot.

As he departed, Woods said his pain became progressively worse in the last round of his final PGA Championship warm-up event at Firestone Country Club — a course where he has won eight times.

At the time he withdrew, he was three-over par for the final round and stood four-over for the tournament.

“After grimacing in pain after his tee shot on No. 9, Tiger Woods has withdrawn from the @WGC_Bridgestone,” tweeted the PGA Tour.

Woods was seen holding his back as he departed, being driven off the course in a golf buggy, forced to sit ramrod straight to help alleviate the pain.

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