By Dan Bernstein– senior columnist

(CBS) I’m supposed to know better and usually do, but in the case of Tiger Woods, I have always defaulted to an unusual place of finding a reason to hope for the best and that one of the greatest sportsmen of my lifetime has something left.

I’m about done, after he withdrew Friday from the Dubai Desert Classic, citing back spasms.  Just two months ago he had returned, looking occasionally free and easy even if not scoring, and appearing uninhibited in his recovery from debilitating nerve pain in his back.

The strange details surrounding the latest issue raise all kinds of red flags regarding what was injured when. Both Woods and his agent insist this problem only popped up late Thursday night, despite multiple observers noting that Woods was moving and swinging uncomfortably in his opening round. It’s possible the current problem is unrelated entirely to anything previous and also possible he’s facing another major setback.

That he flew halfway around the world to play this event could be indication that he was indeed feeling fine, but we rarely get real answers from the the guarded Woods or his insular team. We have to go with what we see, and this doesn’t look good.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Bernstein and Goff Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter  @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.

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