A respected sports injury expert has said that Tiger Woods’ withdrawal from last week’s Dubai Desert Classic due to back spasms should be extremely concerning to the world number one.
After carding an opening five-over-par-77 in the first round in Dubai last week, Woods withdrew from the tournament.
Mark Steinberg, Woods’ agent, downplayed the seriousness of the situation.
"It's not the nerve pain that has kept him out for so long, it's a back spasm," he said.
"The fact that he feels that it's not the nerve pain, that's very encouraging for him. He's had spasms before.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) February 3, 2017
Woods endured two back surgeries in late 2015 before taking an extended break from the game to recover.
Considering the amount of time he has had to get fit and healthy, Selene Parekh, a professor of surgery in the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke University, finds it significant that Woods’ back has flared up so soon.
"Tiger should be very concerned,” Parekh, who has not worked with Woods, told Reuters.
"I know the Woods team has said this is not related to his prior surgeries but they’ve said that before and it was always related to his prior back issues.
"I'm very concerned hearing that so soon after returning to the course he's having issues. He's had over 500 days of rest and recovery to get back onto the course this year and already he has symptoms.
"This is just taking it down further towards the end of his career until he realises he has to retire.”
Woods is next scheduled to play in the Genesis Open in Los Angeles on the 16th of February and then at the Honda Classic in Florida on the 23rd of February.