Tiger Woods’ manager explains mysterious Riviera WD, ambulance chaos

tiger woods grimaces at genesis invitational in red striped shirt

Tiger Woods' WD from the Genesis Invitational was the result of a "some type of flu," his manager said.

Darren Riehl/GOLF

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — You could feel the moment the energy shifted at Riviera Country Club on Friday afternoon. One second the Genesis Invitational was an idyllic LA hangout, drenched in sunlight and overflowing with good vibes — the next it was a bonafide breaking news event, a place where journalists scurried around in an anxious blitz and a suddenly formidable security detail flanked the entrances to the terracotta clubhouse.

The cause of the drama? A red ambulance and two red fire trucks belonging to the Los Angeles Fire Department parked out front. Oh, and also the golfer who was presumably supposed to journey with them to the nearest local hospital: Tiger Woods.

Woods, the 15-time major champion and tournament host, had WD’d mysteriously in the middle of his second round just minutes earlier. In a telling sign, he’d needed a cart to return from the 7th hole to the clubhouse, and emerged from the cart only for seconds before disappearing into the annals of the player support area.

The minutes that followed had offered little detail. Woods had WD’d, officially, with an “illness,” per the PGA Tour. Reports from the course had spotted him taking a handful of restroom breaks during the six holes that preceded his WD, which indicated there was some veracity to the Tour’s explanation. But Woods’ own admission of back spasms on Thursday afternoon had engendered more than a hint of skepticism among reporters that a larger malady was at play.

When the ambulance arrived, the hysteria surrounding Woods’ WD kicked into overdrive. Within seconds, dozens of media had huddled into a crevice between a green hedge and the back door of the ambulance, training all manner of phone and professional cameras in the direction of a small clubhouse door. Suddenly, it seemed, the situation had grown serious. Maybe Woods’ WD had been more dire than anyone realized.

Then, after 40 or so minutes of waiting, a group of EMTs exited through the clubhouse door with an empty stretcher and loaded it into the ambulance. Woods’ status remained a mystery, but the big picture seemed to be brightening: whatever he was dealing with wasn’t serious enough to require an ambulance ride.

A few minutes later, the PGA Tour released a statement to the media from Rob McNamara, Woods’ longtime friend and business partner, filling in the blanks from a wild afternoon. According to McNamara, Woods has been dealing with a “flu-like” illness that grew bad on Genesis Friday afternoon.

“He started feeling some flu-like symptoms last night,” McNamara said. “Woke up this morning, they were worse than the night previous. He had a little bit of a fever, and was better during the warm-up. But then when he got out there and was walking and playing, he started feeling dizzy.”

As for the ambulance, McNamara said the spectacle was simple: Woods’ dizziness was attributed to dehydration. Doctors had administered an IV, and presumably called the ambulance out of an abundance of caution.

“Ultimately the doctors are saying he’s got potentially some type of flu,” McNamara said. “He’s been treated with an IV bag and he’s doing much, much better and he’ll be released on his own here soon.”

And on the most important note — that of any other lingering Tiger injury issues that might have contributed to Friday’s WD — McNamara doused the flames of speculation.

“[It’s] not physical at all, his back’s fine,” he said. “It was all medical illness, dehydration, [and] now the symptoms are reversing themselves now that he’s had an IV.”

So there you have it: A Tiger Woods WD at the Genesis caused by illness, not injury. And one that likely does nothing to endanger his chances of playing roughly once a month in 2024, as is his stated goal for the new year.

In the minutes that followed the announcement, the chaos seemed to settle at Riviera C.C. The security detail lightened again, ending the de facto clubhouse lockdown, and the ambulance disappeared. It was back to Friday at the Genesis — the field now one legend shorter.

Exit mobile version