Tiger Woods withdrew after his worst nine holes at The Players Championship on Thursday because of leg injuries that sent him limping off the course toward a future that is murkier than ever.
Woods shot a 42 on the front nine, including a triple bogey on no 4, when he didn't clear a water hazard 30 yards in front of him.
He constantly walked some 20 yards behind his playing partners, holding his club for support, limping more noticeable with each hole. After taking a bogey on the par-5 ninth, he handed his scorecard to PGA champion Martin Kaymer, then walked back to inform Matt Kuchar that he was leaving early from The Players Championship for the second straight year.
"I'm having a hard time walking," Woods said.
It was his first competition since the Masters, where Woods said he hurt his left knee and Achilles' tendon while hitting from pine straw in the third round. He described it as a "minor injury" and skipped the tournament last week to give his leg time to heal.
Woods had said his leg felt better.
But from the opening tee shot at the TPC Sawgrass, he looked as bad as he ever has. "The knee acted up and then the Achilles followed after that, and then the calf started cramping up," Woods said. "Everything started getting tight, so it's just a whole chain reaction."
The first hole could not have gone any worse. He pulled his opening tee shot into the pine trees, leaving him a stance in the pine straw. Then he came up short of the green, his ball perched at the bottom of a steep bank that force another awkward stance.
"The pine straw didn't help because my foot slipped, my left foot slipped," Woods said. "It obviously would have probably felt better if it would have held."
The rest of his nine holes was not much better, especially at no 4. He said his knee "grabbed me" on a tee shot that sailed well left into the mounds, and he put his approach into the water.
Then came a shocker of a shot after taking a drop, his short pitch to a back pin hit the bulk head and went back into the water. He had to make a 20-foot putt for triple bogey.