Dammit. Dammit, dammit, dammit. Less than an hour after I wrote 1000ish words previewing his first competitive rounds since July, Tiger Woods has withdrawn from the Hero World Challenge due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot, the same leg that sustained traumatic injuries in his car accident back in February 2021.
"In my preparation and practice for this week's Hero World Challenge, I've developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot, which is making it difficult to walk," Woods wrote in a statement posted to his social media. "After consulting with my doctors and trainers, I have decided to withdraw this week and focus on my hosting duties. My plan is still to compete in The Match and PNC Championship."
This just gave the Tiger Hype Train a flat tire just as it was starting to gain momentum. Just a few days ago, Woods committed to playing in the PNC Championship alongside his son, Charlie, which meant he was planning to play three separate events in December—the Hero this week, the Match next week when he and Rory McIlroy will take on Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, and the PNC. But the Hero was the only 72-hole tournament of the bunch, the only time he'll be required to walk four rounds of golf in consecutive days, and apparently the plantar fasciitis made that task too difficult.
It's a sobering reminder of all the physical challenges Woods faces. Even before this latest accident, he had a fused back and a left knee that'd been under the knife five times. Add in all the major surgery to rebuild his right leg and all the hardware holding it together and it turns out other parts of the body can be impacted significantly. It's why Woods has to be so diligent with his rehabilitation and preparation for events. The slightest tweak can reverberate throughout the body and keep him from playing golf.
Woods is still expected to address the media at 10 a.m. EST from Albany on Tuesday, when questions will surely now focus on the state of his right leg. Ugh.
A quick personal side note: plantar fasciitis can be a bitch and a half. I had it a few years ago and had to get a cortisone shot, which I maintain was the most painful thing I've ever experienced. A big ol' needle straight into the back of my heel. Immediately started sweating and yelling. It's a nasty little injury that makes walking extremely painful—which is rough given that walking is the hardest thing for Woods to do. He's said throughout this comeback that golf isn't the problem; walking is. And this will make walking even more difficult than before.