Furyk's back tightens up, leaving WGC event in doubt

AKRON, Ohio -- Jim Furyk's momentum heading toward the final
major of the year came to a halt when his back became tight and
painful, leaving him uncertain Wednesday whether he could play in
the Bridgestone Invitational.

"I've very stiff right now, don't have a lot of movement in my
upper back and then into my neck," Furyk said.

The injury comes two days after Furyk won the Canadian Open with
a 64 in the final round, his first victory of an otherwise steady
season that moved him up to No. 2 in the world ranking.

The Bridgestone Invitational, which starts Thursday at
Firestone, is one of his favorite events of the year. He lost in a
seven-hole playoff to Tiger Woods in 2001, and finished one shot
out of a playoff last year, which Woods won over Stewart Cink.

"Right now, I don't know whether or not I'll be able to play,"
Furyk said. "I'll make that decision probably tonight and see how
things are going. I'm a little disappointed after playing so well
last week, and coming to a place that is in my top five events. But
obviously, the first thing is getting healthy."

Also in doubt was the PGA Championship next week at Southern
Hills, where Furyk figured to be among the favorites. He has not
finished worse than 15th in the majors this year, including a
runner-up finish at Oakmont in the U.S. Open.

Furyk said he was hitting balls Tuesday at Firestone when his
back began to tighten up.

"I quit hitting balls as quick as I could and tried to get up
here to the physio therapy trailers to try to get some treatment,"
he said. "But last night, it was very tight and relatively

Furyk also had a sore back before the U.S. Open at Winged Foot
last year, where he tied for second. He said that was in the upper
back and made it difficult for him to turn to the right. This
injury was to the lower back and made it hard for him to turn to
the left.

"I had gone through my irons and was on the driver, and just
made a swing where it didn't feel right," he said.