Tiger Woods withdraws from Northern Trust, citing oblique strain (Updated)
Kevin C. Cox
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Tiger Woods pulled out of the 2019 Northern Trust Friday morning, hours before he was scheduled to play his second round.
According to tournament officials, the 15-time major winner cited an oblique strain as the reason for withdrawing.
"I went for treatment early Friday morning, but unfortunately I’m still unable to compete," Woods said in a statement. "I’d like to thank the New Jersey and New York fans for their support and remain hopeful I can compete next week at the BMW Championship."
According to Woods' longtime agent, Mark Steinberg, a determination on Woods' availability for the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs will be made after the weekend.
"I know he wants to play. But he also wants to do the smart thing," Steinberg said.
Steinberg said the decision to withdraw from the Northern Trust was largely a precaution, and there is little indication this is a long-term injury.
"In the past he would just fight through it and that's what led to all the surgeries," he said. "He's clearly learned he needs to do what’s best for his life and not just for his golf life."
Earlier in the week, Woods stopped taking full swings during his pro-am round after noticeably wincing following a handful of swings. For the rest of the round, he refrained from hitting drives and full iron shots, saying his body felt stiff, but continued walking with his group to work on his short game.
“This is how it is,” Woods said by the Liberty National clubhouse Wednesday afternoon. “Some days I’m stiffer than others. Yesterday, I was out there driving it great. … Today, I'm stiff. Hopefully I'm not that way tomorrow."
Woods looked physically fine during Thursday's first round in Liberty National—his swings were loose and powerful, and he didn't appear to be in pain in his trek around the property—but had a rough day, his four-over 75 the second-highest score in the morning wave of players. After the round, Woods said he was still a little stiff, yet attributed his score to merely having a bad day.
“I didn't play well,” Woods said. “Just one of those things where I just didn't hit any good shots and didn't make any putts.”
Since his April win at Augusta National, Woods has made four starts, missing the cut at the PGA Championship and Open Championship to go with a T-9 at the Memorial and T-21 at the U.S. Open. Woods said his schedule is a byproduct of last season's workload, in which he played seven times in nine weeks. Woods had also expressed concerns about the physical grind of the upcoming three-week FedEx Cup Playoffs.
“The pressures that I'm going to be facing, hopefully putting myself in contention, that's why it gets difficult … but when I get myself in contention, it takes a toll on you,” Woods said. “That's what I want to feel. I want that type of tiredness, with a chance to win.”
This is the first WD for Woods since he dropped out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational earlier this year, citing a lingering neck issue.