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'Disappointed' Woods withdraws from Masters with injury

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AUGUSTA, United States: Five-time winner Tiger Woods, who limped through an awful, bogey-strewn start to his rain-halted third round of the Masters, pulled out of the tournament with a foot injury organizers said on Sunday.

"I am disappointed to have to WD (withdraw) this morning due to reaggravating my plantar fasciitis," he posted on Twitter shortly after organisers had announced his decision.

"Thank you to the fans and to @TheMasters who have shown me so much love and support. Good luck to the players today!"

It is the second time in the past year that Woods has been forced to withdraw from a major championship citing injury.

The 15-times major winner, who now plays a very limited schedule on the PGA Tour focusing instead on being able to compete in majors, had speculated before the tournament that this may be one of his last Masters.

"I don't know how many more I have in me," Woods had said on Tuesday, "So just (have) to be able to appreciate the time I have here and cherish the memories."

The Masters is aiming to finish the rain-impacted third round on early on Sunday before proceeding to the decisive final round at Augusta National.

Woods is still dealing with the impact of severe leg injuries suffered in a 2021 car crash. He made his return at last year's Masters, where he shared 47th and spoke of walking 72 holes on the hilly layout as a victory of sorts.

For 47-year-old Woods, who has talked about playing in pain and who operates a minimal tournament schedule, the weather enforced changes meant he would have attempted to play 29 holes on Sunday in order to finish.

At the rain-softened, cold Augusta National, Jon Rahm pulled within two strokes of leader Brooks Koepka as the third round of the Masters resumed on Sunday.

Rahm began the morning by sinking a nine-foot birdie putt at the par-4 seventh hole while Koepka curled an 11-foot par putt beyond the hole, his first stumble after 29 holes in a row without a bogey.

Koepka kept at the top on 12-under with Rahm charging to 10-under, trimming half his overnight deficit.

In November, Woods cited the plantar fasciitis in his right foot when he withdrew from the Hero World Challenge event in the Bahamas.

Woods had battled to make the cut early on Saturday, playing in cold and wet conditions and limping at times. He eventually made it into the final two rounds after the cut-line rose to three-over par 147.

By making the cut, Woods matched the Masters record of Fred Couples and Gary Player with 23 consecutive made cuts.

But Woods, who hasn't missed a Masters cut since 1996 when he was playing as an amateur, made a dreadful start to his third round.

Starting on the 10th hole, Woods made two bogeys before double bogeys on the par-5 15th and par-3 16th left him bottom of the leaderboard on nine over overall.

In September, Woods pulled out of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa in September after he had made a 9-over 79 in the third round - the first time he had withdrawn in a major.

Woods had shared 45th at his PGA event at Riviera in February in his most recent prior start. -- AFP

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