Tiger Woods withdraws from The Northern Trust ahead of second round


For fifth-ranked Woods, meanwhile, it was a day of misery battling back stiffness in only his fifth start since winning the Masters in April. Retired golfer Annika Sorenstam gives her take on Tigers' comeback.

Tiger Woods joked that at least he broke 80 after struggling to a four-over-par 75 in the first round at the Northern Trust in New Jersey on Thursday.

In a statement released on Friday, the Masters champion wrote: "Due to a mild oblique strain that led to pain and stiffness, I have to withdraw from The Northern Trust".

"It just feels frustrating to shoot anything high no matter how I feel", Woods said.

Despite pulling out of the tournament, where a $9.25 million purse is up for grabs, Woods does not plan to let this setback slow him down.

Woods had acknowledged that his back was stiff on the eve of the first event of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs.

"I want to play here as long as I possibly can and you have to understand if I play a lot, I won't be out here that long".

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The Northern Trust is the first of three FedEx Cup playoff events and cuts the top 125 players on the points standings to 70 who advance to next week's BMW Championship.

Woods will need to play next week's BMW Championship at Medinah and overtake rival players in order to finish in the season's top 30 and earn a chance of defending his Tour Championship title in the campaign finale at East Lake.

Woods flew straight from Atlanta to Paris for the Ryder Cup but looked worn out and failed to win a single point as the United States were easily beaten by Europe at Le Golf National.

Woods had been dealing with a tight back before the tournament began.

This week is also the first time Woods has withdrawn from a US PGA Tour event since the 2015 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Woods won his 15th major title at Augusta earlier this year but the 43-year-old has played a limited schedule since in a bid to stay healthy.

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