At the Masters, Brooks Koepka Holds the Lead and Tiger Woods Withdraws

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods withdrew on Sunday from the Masters Tournament, where he was in last place and openly struggling to overcome the agony of years of injuries.Augusta National Golf Club announced Woods’s withdrawal 75 minutes before the resumption of the third round, which was suspended Saturday because of bad weather. Woods had completed seven holes of the round and was six over par, bringing his tournament score to nine over after he had made his 23rd consecutive Masters cut, tying a record shared by Fred Couples and Gary Player.In a post on Twitter on Sunday morning, after Augusta National’s announcement, Woods attributed his withdrawal to “reaggravating my plantar fasciitis,” a condition he has dealt with for months. In November, it led Woods to skip competing in an event in the Bahamas that he hosts.Woods’s decision at the Masters came on a far more prominent stage, and it marked the second time in less than a year that he withdrew from a major tournament. Last May, he left the P.G.A. Championship after the third round, when he had shot a nine-over-par 79. He skipped the U.S. Open and then missed the cut at the British Open.Although Woods, 47, has long grappled with injuries, he has especially struggled since a car wreck in February 2021 that nearly cost him a leg. He made his return to tournament golf at the Masters last April, when he finished 47th, and has repeatedly said he expects to enter only a handful of events each year.“It has been tough and will always be tough,” Woods said on Tuesday at Augusta National, where he has won the Masters five times, most recently in 2019. “The ability and endurance of what my leg will do going forward will never be the same. I understand that. That’s why I can’t prepare and play as many tournaments as I like, but that’s my future and that’s OK. I’m OK with that.”For Woods, whose wreck left him with open fractures of the tibia and fibula of his right leg, the challenge of the last year in golf has been less about his swing and more about the rigors of walking 72 holes over four days, especially at a notoriously hilly course like Augusta National. After he missed the cut at St. Andrews in July, he said it had been “hard just to walk and play 18 holes.”“People have no idea what I have to go through and the hours of the work on the body, pre and post, each and every single day to do what I just did,” he said after his British Open ended. Later in 2022, he said, without disclosing more details, that his year had included undergoing “a few more procedures because of playing.”The next major tournament is scheduled to start on May 18, when the P.G.A. Championship will be played at Oak Hill Country Club, near Rochester, N.Y. Woods did not say on Sunday whether he intended to be in the field; in February, he said he would “hopefully” appear in all four majors this year.Although poor weather had forced three suspensions of play during this Masters, tournament officials appeared confident that the competition would end, as long planned, on Sunday. When the third round concluded shortly before noon on Sunday, with the Masters field down to 53 players, Brooks Koepka had a two-stroke lead over Jon Rahm.Koepka, who was 11 under par, sputtered slightly on the back nine in the third round, including at No. 17, where he three-putted for the first time during this tournament. Rahm also encountered trouble on the back nine, making bogey on two holes.Viktor Hovland, who barely missed a birdie putt on the 18th green at the end of his third round, was at eight under.

Source link