Ponte Vendra Beach, Florida: Tiger Woods' post-scandal career is increasingly taking on the shape of a slice. It's veered farther and farther offline since the moment his car slid out of control at the end of his driveway, and it just took another turn for the worse.
Withdrawing from The Players Championship, as Woods did after just nine holes — and count 'em, 42 strokes — is no big deal. Players pull out of tournaments all the time. But while speculation about his erratic play the past two seasons zeroed in on Woods' psyche, and then his swing, what's genuinely troubling is the very real problems with his legs.
Woods already had had four surgeries on his left knee dating back to his freshman year at Stanford in 1994, ruptured the Achilles tendon in his right leg, and then strained the same one in his left. The way he described the sequence of aches that led to Thursday's withdrawal — "just a whole chain reaction" — called to mind something said about baseball great Mickey Mantle at the end of a career that could have been greater, not to mention longer.