Beijing: Tiger Woods`s woes continued on Sunday when he pulled out of the Players Championship after completing six holes of his final round, citing a painful neck.
Playing only his third event since his private life unravelled at the end of last year amid allegations of marital infidelities, the American did not appear in discomfort when he consulted with an official after a wayward drive at the seventh before quitting one shot later.
The world number one was two over for the day and two under for the tournament when he withdrew. He shook hands with compatriot and playing partner Jason Bohn before leaving the course on a golf cart, continually flexing his right hand.
"I`ve been playing with a bad neck for quite a while," Woods, 34, told reporters. "I`ve been playing through it. I can`t play through it any more."
"I`m having a hard time with the pain. There`s tingling down my fingers, on the right side. They want me to go get a picture on it (the neck) next week."
"I might have a bulging disk," added Woods, who missed the cut for only the sixth time as a professional at last week`s Quail Hollow Championship.
The 14-times major champion said he had first experienced the pain before last month`s US Masters where he returned to the game after a self-imposed break of five months and tied for fourth in the year`s opening major.
"It`s on the backswing, downswing, follow through," Woods added, referring to the pain. "Setting up over the ball is fine, but once I start making the motion, it`s downhill from there."
Woods, a distant 10 strokes off the lead at the start of Sunday`s final round, had recorded a three-putt bogey at the third and dropped at the par-four fifth after hitting his tee shot into water.
He was in potential trouble at the par-four seventh where his drive ended up on pine straw well right of the fairway and he immediately called over an official.
After hitting his second shot short of the green, Woods decided to withdraw.
It was the first time he had pulled out of a tournament during a round since he injured his wrist as an amateur competing in the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.
He had not withdrawn from a PGA Tour event since the 2006 Nissan Open at Riviera where he narrowly made the cut but quit before the third round because of flu.
Although Woods has done a few neck-stretching exercises while out on the course at Sawgrass, he said earlier this week he was 100 percent fit.
Asked after the second round whether he had any fitness issues, he replied: "No, zero. Absolutely 100 percent. I still feel I`m still explosive in all my exercises I`m able to do now, which I wasn`t doing any of that last year."