Tiger withdraws with another injury

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DORAL, FLA. (AP) - One week after Tiger Woods showed some of his old magic, he hobbled off the golf course with an old injury.

And the Masters is only three weeks away.

Woods pounded a 321-yard tee shot on the 12th hole Sunday in the Cadillac Championship when he winced, slumping over against his driver, and the hobble became an unmistakable limp. Moments later, he shook hands with Webb Simpson and told him, “I’ve got to go in.”

He was driven off in a cart to the parking lot at Doral, walked gingerly to a black sedan and drove away.

“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.”

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.

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

“He just shook my hand and said, `I’ve got to go in.’ You could feel he was hurting. He didn’t say a whole lot, but his expression was enough that he was in enough pain to end it.”

Woods is scheduled 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 last 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, because obviously it would be a great week with him there. He can spark an interest in golf that no one else can.”

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.”

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