Woods called it quits after hitting his tee shot on the par-three third hole on the North Course at Torrey Pines. Woods had started his round on the 10th hole and was two over par through 11 holes before walking off after shaking hands with playing partners Billy Horschel and Rickie Fowler.
It was the third withdrawal in the last eight starts for Woods, who recently turned 39.
Woods was whisked away in a golf cart and taken directly to his car in the parking lot. There, surrounded by cameras and reporters, he said he aggravated his back during the morning fog delay.
"It just never loosened back up again," Woods said. "And when we went back out, it just got progressively tighter."
His tee time of 9:20 a.m. was pushed to 11:40. Woods said he was unable to "activate his glutes," a reference to the muscles in his back side.
"It's just my glutes are shutting off," he said. "Then they don't activate and then, hence, it goes into my lower back."
Woods bogeyed two of his first three holes but had worked back to even par for the round before he made double bogey on the par-four second hole.
Woods was hoping to beat back naysayers after last week's 11-over round of 82 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It was the worst round of his pro career and dropped him to No. 56 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Woods is a seven-time winner of the Torrey Pines tournament and also claimed his 14th major, the 2008 U.S. Open, at Torrey Pines.