Woods withdraws at Torrey Pines with another back injury

Tiger Woods has been forced to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines after pulling up with yet another back injury.

The 14-time major champion was two over par when he quit during the first round after only 11 holes. He spoke briefly with his playing partners before slowly making his way off the course and into a waiting car.

The 39-year-old’s early departure comes on the heels of his worst ever career tally in the second of the Phoenix Open last week, in which he finished with an 82.

Woods would have been hoping for better as he took to the field to play only his second tournament of the season after returning from surgery on a pinched nerve which had previously ruled him out of last year’s Masters and US Open.

He appeared to hurt his back after hitting a tee shot at the 12th – his third hole of the day – but continued for another eight holes.

However, his attempts to mask his discomfort were glaring for all to see when playing partners Rickie Fowler and Billy Horschel both helped him pick his ball out of holes.

The Nike golfer did pause briefly to speak with reporters and explained his lower back got tight during a fog delay that suspended play for more than two hours.

"My glutes keep shutting off and that causes me pain in my back," he said. "It got worse as we stood waiting on the putting green during the delay and I tried warming up my glutes, but it just wasn't working for me.

"When we went back out, it just got progressively worse."

One man who wasn’t experiencing such a torrid time on the greens was American Nicholas Thompson, who struck an eight-under-par round of 64 which featured seven birdies, an eagle and a bogey, giving him a one-stroke lead over compatriot Michael Thompson after the opening round.

Waving the flag for England, Ian Poulter currently lies in a tie for fifth place on five under, three shots behind the overnight leader, while 2013 Open champion Phil Mickelson was one over par through 15 holes when fog put a halt to play for the remainder of the day.