- Associated Press - Sunday, March 11, 2012

DORAL, Fla. — Tiger Woods‘ road to the Masters took a surprising detour Sunday when he withdrew after 11 holes in the Cadillac Championship because of soreness in his left Achilles tendon.

Justin Rose defeated Bubba Watson by one stroke and Rory McIlroy by two shots for his first World Golf Championship title.

For Woods, it’s the same Achilles that he injured last year at Augusta National, which eventually caused Woods to miss two majors last year.

The severity of this injury won’t be known until Woods has it evaluated.

He was 3-over par in the final round at Doral, 10 shots out of the lead, when he hit a 321-yard tee shot on the par-5 12th hole, shook hands with Webb Simpson and left in a cart.

“I felt tightness in my left Achilles warming up this morning, and it continued to get progressively worse,” Woods said in a statement. “After hitting my tee shot at 12, I decided it was necessary to withdraw. In the past, I may have tried to continue to play, but this time, I decided to do what I thought was necessary.”

NBC Sports showed Woods behind the wheel as he drove away from Doral in a black sedan.

“I didn’t really notice anything,” Simpson said. “I wasn’t paying much attention, but it looked like he made a swing on 12 that really hurt. But didn’t say a whole lot. Class act. Shook my hand. Off he went.”

Woods is to play in two weeks at Bay Hill, his last tournament before the Masters. Woods is a four-time champion at Augusta National, and with an ordinary game, he still has tied for fourth the past two years.

“It’s a shame because he looked like he was coming out this year, swinging it really well, playing good, getting himself into contention,” said Rory McIlroy, who held off Woods‘ charge last week at the Honda Classic. “It’s probably just precautionary, but I really hope he’s healthy for the Masters.”

Doral was Woods‘ third straight tournament. He lost in the second round of the Match Play Championship, then shot 62 to tie for second in the Honda. When asked after the third round Saturday at Doral how is body was holding up through this stretch, he replied, “It feels great.”

Steve Stricker played with him in the third round Saturday and said he didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.

“He always walks with a limp a little bit,” Stricker said. “I noticed it a little bit again. I thought maybe that’s something he always has, like a habit.”

Woods changed shoes at the turn and was lifting his left leg, slightly flexing his ankle. His limp became more pronounced, especially after he pulled his second shot on the par-5 10th, leading to bogey. The limp grew worse, and moments later, Woods was gone.