Tiger Woods will not play in next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg has confirmed that Woods will miss Bay Hill for the second consecutive year (he lost last year due to neck tension) and the sixth time in the past seven years. A record eight-time winner there, Woods had until 17:00. ET Friday to enter the field.
Woods hasn’t played since he finished in 68th place, the last of those who made the cut, at the Genesis Invitational. That week on Riviera he performed a myriad of hosting tasks, struggled on the green and revealed that his surgically repaired back was stiff. Despite the prospect of a guaranteed world ranking, FedExCup and Olympic points, Woods decided not to play the week after the WGC-Mexico championship because “he would not have been ready”. So he didn’t play his tournament in his hometown, Honda Classic this week. And now it won’t be in Bay Hill, one of his favorite hunting grounds.
Overall, Woods has only played eight competitive rounds this year, remaining tied to all-time PGA Tour wins (82).
Although Woods has not made public statements about jumping Bay Hill, Steinberg told ESPN.com that Woods’ back is “still stiff and not quite ready”.
Still unclear is where Woods will see him later. In two weeks it’s the players’ championship, where he’s twice the winner. Two weeks later there is the WGC-Match Play Championship, where he reached the quarterfinals last year in his set-up before Augusta.
If Woods participated in these two events, this would prevent him from attending back-to-back events in early 2020 and giving him four starts before the Masters. Last year, he played five times before the first major of the year.
Earlier this week, in a Masters conference call with reporters, Woods was vague about his preparation.
“My preparation has been just like usual,” he said. “Is, what should I do to prepare for the Masters? I was lucky to have done it now five times, and to try to do it all together for an incredible week, it is difficult to do. It is difficult to try to get all the shots and have everything composed .
“The plan is to prepare in the same way. It worked last year, so I have a plan for what I have to do and I hope I can have the same feelings. “