Tiger Woods is driven off the course after a neck injury on the 7th hole during the final round of The Players Championship golf tournament - May 9, 2010

*Tiger Woods has shocked folks again – this time with his sudden withdrawal from The Players Championship on Sunday with neck pain that he fears might be a bulging disk in his upper back.

“I’ve been playing through it,” Woods said of pain he first felt before the Masters. “I can’t play through it anymore.”

Woods said he did not know what caused the injury, only that “playing doesn’t help it.” just before reaching the ninth hole in the final round.

The golfer pulled himself from play right before the ninth hole in the final round. It’s Woods’ first withdrawal from a tournament since the Nissan Open at Riviera in 2006, when he narrowly made the cut and withdrew from the final two rounds because of the flu. He also withdrew from the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills as a 19-year-old amateur because of a wrist injury from hitting out of deep rough.

In the locker room, Woods was so frustrated that he slammed his golf shoe to the floor while taking 10 questions from three reporters. He then went into a physical therapy trailer for 37 minutes.

“I knew his neck had been bothering him but Tiger doesn’t ever make excuses, so it was hard to tell just how bad it was,” swing coach Hank Haney said in a text message to The Associated Press. “Having said that he won the US Open on a broken leg and if he couldn’t play anymore today it must be pretty bad.”

The only time he had mentioned his neck was during a news conference last month at the Masters. Woods was taken to the hospital Nov. 27 after driving his SUV over a fire hydrant and into a tree, the infamous accident that set off shocking revelations of extramarital affairs that led to his five-month break from golf.

Asked at Augusta what injuries he suffered that night, Woods said, “I had a busted-up lip and a pretty sore neck, and that was it.”

He didn’t cite pain when he struggled last week at Quail Hollow and missed the cut for the sixth time in his career. But it became obvious something was wrong Sunday on the par-4 seventh hole at Sawgrass.

After hitting his tee shot well right, Woods called for an official. He hit his second shot and grimaced, then walked to the middle of the fairway, shook hands with playing partner Jason Bohn and left in a golf cart. Fans gave him a warm ovation, with one man shouting, “Hurry back, Tiger.”

Below; ESPN’s report of Tiger’s possible bulging disk and the Golf Channel’s report of his ‘bulging d*cks.’