Woods began reaching for his lower back midway through the round on the North Course at Torrey Pines, and his grimace became more pronounced. Billy Horschel picked up the tee for Woods on their 10th hole and took the ball out of the cup for him when Woods made birdie.
Woods hit a safe shot to the middle of the par-3 third green. When it was his turn, he had caddie Joe LaCava pick up his ball marker and he waited for Horschel and Rickie Fowler to finish before getting into a cart and driving to his car.
In his last six tournaments since returning from back surgery a week before the Masters, Woods has missed the cut three times, withdrawn twice and finished 69th in the British Open, his lowest 72-hole finish in a major.
He had said at his unofficial Hero World Challenge in December and last week in the Phoenix Open, where he had a career-high 82, that he was at full strength.
He blamed this on having to stand around in the cool Pacific air during a fog delay.
Woods warmed up for his 9:20 a.m. tee time and was near the 10th tee when play was suspended because fog rolled in. Fog delayed the start by an hour, and the next round of fog led to a 90-minute stoppage in play.
“I was ready to go,” Woods said. “I had a good warm-up session the first time around. Then we stood out here and I got cold, and everything started deactivating again. And it’s frustrating that I just can’t stay activated. That’s just kind of the way it is.”
Asked if it was new pain from the back injury that forced him to withdraw at Firestone in August, Woods said his “glutes are shutting off.”