Woods injury a spasm, not nerve pain - agent

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Tiger Woods is confident that the back injury which forced him to withdraw from the Dubai Desert Classic is not a recurrence of the nerve pain that saw him miss 15 months of action, his agent has said.

The 14-time major champion made a poor start to the tournament at the Emirates Golf Club, shooting a five-over-par 77 to sit 12 shots adrift of leader Sergio Garcia.

Woods insisted after that round that he was not in pain, but withdrew from the tournament before his second round on Friday with the European Tour citing a back injury.

However, the 41-year-old's agent, Mark Steinberg, says Woods has been receiving treatment for a spasm and is hopeful the prognosis will be positive.

"He says it's not the nerve pain that's kept him out for so long. He says it's a back spasm and he just can't get the spasm to calm down," said Steinberg.

"So that's where we are. He feels terrible. He talked to [playing partners] Matthew [Fitzpatrick] and Danny [Willett], he feels awful, and he feels terrible for the tournament. He wanted to be here. He wants to be here. 

"He just feels terrible that he can't finish it out. He can move around, he can't make a full rotation on the swing.

"I think spasms are a funny thing, I'm certainly not a doctor, but they come and go - again the fact that he feels it's not the nerve pain is very encouraging for him.

"He's had some spasms before that's for sure. He has his trainer with him which is a good thing and he's been working with him for several hours.

"So, he'll get it to calm down and the short-term prognosis he thinks will hopefully be strong based on the fact it's not that nerve pain."

Woods, who missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open last week, said after his first round that his score was due to poor play and not injury, and Steinberg says the issue flared up late on Thursday evening.

"He felt okay coming off the golf course yesterday so he wasn't in pain," added Steinberg. "I didn't see him at dinner, but he said he was okay and went into a spasm in his lower back, fairly late last night after dinner. 

"He tried to work it out last night, didn't really get it worked out. He had treatment starting pretty early this morning, for probably the past three, three and a half hours."