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Can Tiger Woods master back injury before Augusta?

By Matthew Knight, CNN
updated 8:20 PM EDT, Mon March 10, 2014
Tiger Woods grimaces during the final round of he WGC Cadillac Championship on Sunday.
Tiger Woods grimaces during the final round of he WGC Cadillac Championship on Sunday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tiger Woods struggles with back spasms for second consecutive tournament
  • Woods followed superb round of 66 on Saturday with a 78 in final round
  • World No. 1 will be hunting a fifth green jacket at Augusta National in April

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(CNN) -- He's used to holding trophies aloft on Sundays but all Tiger Woods is clutching at the moment is his back.

For the second week running the world No. 1 has been beaten by back spasms, sparking concern over his ability to mount a serious challenge at the Masters which gets underway on April 10.

After pulling out during the final round of the Honda Classic at PGA National, Woods challenge at the WGC Cadillac Championship was blunted by spasms which started after hitting a ball from an awkward stance in fairway bunker at the par four sixth at Doral's Blue Monster course.

"That's what set it off and then it was done after that," Woods said following a frustrating round, PGATour.com reported.

"Just (tried to) see if I could actually manage through to keep the spasms at bay. But anything in the flexion was done, so the deeper the flexion, the worse it felt."

Woods ended up posting a six-over par 78 to finish tied for 25th after playing his way back in contention for the lead with a superb round of 66 on Saturday.

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"If I feel good, I can actually make a pretty decent swing," Woods said. "You saw it (on Saturday). But if I'm feeling like this, it's a little tough."

Read more: Reed re-writes WGC history

Woods has endured a string of injuries in recent years including ligament damage in his left knee and a ruptured Achilles tendon in his right ankle.

His current back problems first emerged during the final round of The Barclays tournament last August -- a complaint he put down to a soft mattress in a hotel room.

The 14-time major champion now has 10 days off before his next scheduled event -- the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, Florida which starts on March 20.

"If it flares up, it flares up," Woods said. "It's just a matter of keeping it calm, and we had a quick turnaround here from last week. It would be nice to have a week off where I can shut it down and get some treatment."

Twelve months ago, Woods won the tournament to regain the world No. 1 spot before heading onto Augusta where he finished tied for fourth for the third time in four seasons.

He will not need reminding that he last won the Masters way back in 2005 and hasn't won a major of any description since the U.S. Open in 2008. As the 38-year-old noted in January, time may not be on his side, but his desire remains undimmed.

"Looking back from the beginning of my career to now, I know that I don't have 20 years in my prime," Woods said.

"I don't see being 58 and being in my prime. Most guys don't jump from the foul line at age 58, so it's a little different but the outlook is still the same.

"I still prepare the same, I still work my tail off to be ready to compete at this level and beat everything that I'm playing against."

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