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Tiger Woods withdraws from Players after front-nine 42

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For Tiger Woods, the world keeps getting stranger and stranger, and that couldn't be more clear than on Thursday at The Players Championship, when Tiger withdrew after just nine holes of play at TPC Sawgrass.

Tiger, playing with Martin Kaymer and Matt Kuchar, shook hands with both competitors after a nine-hole stretch that consisted of three bogeys and a triple-bogey, to turn in 42 and limp off the course, citing injury to his knee, but also to his ego. Tiger said the pain started on the first tee shot of the day, and continued until he couldn't take it anymore.

"Yeah, the knee acted up and then the Achilles followed after that and then the calf started cramping up. Everything started getting tight, so it's just a whole chain reaction ... I'm having a hard time walking."

It is the second straight year that Tiger withdrew from this tournament and the fourth WD of his career, but the whole thing seems peculiar. Tiger, tied for dead last after nine holes, limping off the golf course and back into hiding, probably taking a few more weeks off from golf before we see him again, if that.

The golf fan in me agrees that Tiger must have been hurting, and if he's in pain, pulling out of the event was the right thing to do, but the cynic in me has to focus on the fact that Tiger was 6-over after nine holes, and not looking to turn that around anytime soon.

But what's next for Woods? The Memorial? Congressional? The British Open? Who knows right now. Tiger said before the week that he felt his knee was 100 percent and his goal was to win, but he hadn't played 18 holes yet since Augusta, and after nine holes on Tuesday, never confirmed really how he felt. Now, after just the first leg of The Players, Tiger is done, and that will be the story of the entire week, no matter who wins or loses.

More on this as it comes out, but for now, Tiger is out at The Players, and his future seems as grim as ever.

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