Playing only his third event since his private life unravelled at the end of last year amid allegations of marital infidelities, the American did not appear in discomfort when he consulted with an official after his tee shot at the 7th hole before calling it quits a shot later.
He was two over for the day and two under for the tournament when he quit. He shook hands with compatriot and playing partner Jason Bohn before leaving the course on a golf cart.
“I’ve been playing with a bad neck for quite a while,” Woods told reporters. “I’ve been playing through it. I can’t play through it any more.
“I’m having a hard time with the pain. There’s tingling down my fingers, on the right side.”
The 14-times major champion said he had first experienced the pain before last month’s U.S. Masters where he returned to the game after a self-imposed break of five months and tied for fourth in the year’s opening major.
“It’s on the backswing, downswing, follow through,” Woods added, referring to the pain. “Setting up over the ball is fine, but once I start making the motion, it’s downhill from there.”
Woods, a distant 10 strokes off the lead at the start of the final round, had recorded a three-putt bogey at the third and also dropped at the par-four fifth after hitting his tee shot into water.
He was in potential trouble at the par-four seventh where his drive ended up well right of the fairway and he immediately called over an official.
After hitting his second shot short of the green, Woods decided to withdraw.
It was the first time Woods had withdrawn from a tournament during a round since he was an amateur competing in the 1995 US Open at Shinnecock Hills.