sport

Fresh injury concern for Tiger

Tiger Woods was forced to withdraw from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational during the final round with a back problem.

Woods hit a number of poor shots in the fourth round at Firestone Country Club in Akron and, after missing the fairway with his tee shot on the ninth hole he grimaced and reached towards his back before being driven off the course in a cart.

He was taken to the car park where he again looked in real discomfort as he prepared to leave a venue where he has won eight times, including by seven shots last year.

The 38-year-old had back surgery on March 31 which ruled him out of action for three months.

Woods returned at Congressional on June 26 - about three weeks earlier than expected - and missed the cut by four shots.

The former world No 1 subsequently played in The Open at Royal Liverpool and had reported no problems with his back since returning.

However, the latest problem must put his participation in next week's US PGA Championship in doubt, with the final Major of the year due to start at Valhalla in Kentucky on Thursday.

When asked if he had suffered the same injury which led to surgery and ruled him out of the Masters and US Open, Woods said: "It's just the whole lower back.

"It happened on the second hole when I hit my second shot. I fell back into the bunker. Just jarred it. It's been spasming ever since."

And when quizzed about playing at Valhalla, where he beat Bob May in a play-off in 2000, he added: "I don't know, I'm just trying to get out of here."

European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, commentating on Sky Sports 4, said: "He looks like he's maybe come back too early.

"The way he played I saw him hit shots on the front nine there that I've never seen him in his life come close to hitting. There's obviously something going on."