By Jay Betsill
Tiger Woods has withdrawn from this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando due to the same back issues he faced during the Honda Classic and World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship at Doral. The world’s No. 1 player is the two-time defending champion at Bay Hill, an event he was won eight times.
“I personally called Arnold today to tell him that, sadly, I won’t be able to play in his tournament this year. I would like to express my regrets to the Orlando fans, the volunteers, the tournament staff and the sponsors for having to miss the event. Unfortunately, my back spasms and the pain haven’t subsided,” Woods said on his website. “It’s too early to know about the Masters, and I will continue to be evaluated and work closely with my doctors. I feel badly that I won’t be able to play in this great tournament this week.”
The Bay Hill event was expected to be his last tournament prior to the Masters, which begins in three weeks, on April 10. The next two PGA Tour events are in Texas. There is the Valero Texas Open (March 27-30) and the Shell Houston Open (April 3-6). No word as of yet if Woods will add one of the Texas events to get some additional competitive rounds in before heading to Augusta National.