Tiger Woods withdraws because of tightness in lower back

Tiger Woods blades a short pitch shot on the 10th hole on the north course at Torrey Pines during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, in San Diego. Woods made a bogie. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Tiger Woods bladed his first chip some 35 feet by the hole. In a similar spot on the next hole, he chipped in.

In his first round since his career-high 82 in the Phoenix Open, Woods was fighting par Thursday in the Farmers Insurance Open and doing his best to hang on. He made the turn in 1-over 37 on the North Course.

Woods is getting as much attention with his bad golf as when he was winning at a staggering rate. He has missed the cut in his last two PGA Tour events — albeit six months apart because of injury — and his short game was a mess last week in rounds of 73-82 to miss the cut by 12 shots.

The start of the fog-delayed opening round was ominous.

From the first cut of rough, Woods short-sided himself to the right of the green and bladed his chip well past the hole to make bogey. Facing another bogey on the 11th hole and with another chip with about 12 feet of green to the hole, the pitch was perfect and rolled into the cup for par.

From there, it was a mixed bag of poor tee shots (he hit only one fairway on the front), poor irons (he hit only three greens) and chip shots that, except for the hole out, were ordinary at best. He made par-saving putts of 6 and 12 feet. His lone birdie was a wedge from the left rough to about 6 feet on the 16th hole.

Woods appeared to reach at his lower back after his tee shot on No. 1 — his 10th hole of the round — though he has said at Phoenix and last December at Isleworth that his health was strong from taking four months off at the end of last year.

The opening round was delayed 2 1/2 hours because of a thick fog off the Pacific Ocean, meaning the first round would not be completed until Friday. Woods was expected to finish.

Brooks Koepka, coming off his victory in the Phoenix Open, was among the early leaders at 3-under par through eight holes on the North Course.

Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open played exclusively on the South Course. He won two years ago in a runaway, though he missed the 54-hole cut a year ago.

He needs a strong finish this week to have a reasonable chance at qualifying for the World Golf Championship at Doral.

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