Woods' rise suffers setback at Doral

Woods flushed a drive more than 300 yards, then withdrew from the tournament with an injury. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

WGC-Cadillac Championship, March 8-11, 71-68-68-WD
Coming off the strong finish at Honda, there was considerable optimism that Tiger Woods' first victory would come at Doral, where he had won three times and had never finished out of the top 10. But putting struggles again put him in a hole, and he would have to make up considerable ground Sunday if he was to get that elusive win.

None of that was of much consequence as Woods limped to the back nine, where there were signs that his left leg was bothering him. That was clear when he hit a poor shot on the 10th hole and even more so when after hitting his drive at the 12th, Woods summoned playing competitor Webb Simpson and said he was withdrawing.

His left Achilles was again the source of irritation, and it led to a surreal scene in which overhead television cameras followed Woods on a golf cart to the parking lot, into his car and onto the streets. He later released a statement saying that the Achilles stiffened on him while he warmed up on the range. Three bogeys and no birdies likely were the result.

Later, he decided to do the "prudent" thing and withdraw, not risking further injury. It was the same issue that kept Woods out for most of four months in 2011, and its reappearance suddenly brought more doubt to his comeback.

A day later, however, Woods said via Twitter that doctors had told him that the Achilles was simply strained and that he would be allowed to begin hitting balls again by the end of the week. So good was his condition that Woods went to Augusta National for a practice round on March 18 and played in a two-day exhibition March 19-20.

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.