Woods withdraws from WGC with injury

Doral (Florida): Tiger Woods withdrew from the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Sunday with an Achilles tendon injury, raising doubts about his fitness for next month`s Masters at Augusta National.

The former world number one had been limping during his final round when he abruptly called it quits and left the course after completing 11 holes.

He was three-over-par for the day and seemingly out of contention to win the tournament.

Woods initially told PGA officials it was a left leg injury but later clarified the nature of his problem in a statement.

"I felt tightness in my left Achilles warming up this morning, and it continued to get progressively worse. After hitting my tee shot at 12, I decided it was necessary to withdraw," he said.

"In the past, I may have tried to continue to play, but this time, I decided to do what I thought was necessary."

"I will get my Achilles evaluated sometime early next week," the statement concluded.

Woods, who had changed shoes midway through the round, was escorted from the Blue Monster course on a buggy and taken to the carpark.

He immediately got into his vehicle, a black Mercedes, and promptly drove off, taking the wheel himself.

The 14-times major champion suffered a left-knee injury last season which caused him to withdraw from the Players Championship in May.

While it was not immediately clear how serious his latest setback was, the American has a long history of injury problems, dating back to his days at Stanford University.

He has had four operations on his knee, including two in 2008, and previous problems with his Achilles.

The injury came just as Woods had been beginning to show signs of his old form.

He shot a 62 in the final round of last week`s Honda Classic to finish tied for second and fired a 67 and a 68 in his second and third rounds at Doral.

World number one Rory McIlroy said he was saddened by the news of Woods` injury.

"It`s a shame because he looked like he was coming out this year, swinging it really well, playing good and getting himself into contention," said the Northern Irishman.

"It`s probably just precautionary but I really hope he is healthy for the Masters because obviously it would be a great week with him there.

"Tiger Woods has been the face of golf for the last 15 years. Feeling like he is coming back to his best, or something near his best, it`s great for the fame. He can spark an interest in golf that no one else can," he said.

McIlroy had a thrilling battle with Woods at the Honda Classic and said he was hoping for something similar at the first major of the year.

"I`d love to have a lot of battles with him coming down the stretch and it would be great to do be able to do that at Augusta, obviously if he`s healthy and plays well and I can get myself into that position again as well," he said.

Bureau Report

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