Tiger Woods wants you know his lower back is fine. Unfortunately, it’s his neck that will keep him from competing this week.
Woods announced on his Twitter account Monday that a neck strain he’s been nursing for weeks will prevent him from taking part it this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla. Woods wrote he’s been receiving treatment for the injury, but he doesn’t feel good enough to play.
By skipping the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods is hoping he’ll be ready to play in the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. next week.
1) Unfortunately due to a neck strain that I’ve had for a few weeks, I'm forced to withdraw from the API. I’ve been receiving treatment, but it hasn't improved enough to play. My lower back is fine, and I have no long-term concerns, and I hope to be ready for The Players.— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) March 4, 2019
2) I'd like to send my regrets to the Palmer family and the Orlando fans. Its connection to Arnold makes it one of my favorite tournaments and I'm disappointed to miss it.— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) March 4, 2019
The decision to miss the event isn’t easy for Woods, who has earned more than $7.5 million over his record eight career victories at Bay Hill. Woods also has a home in Orlando and frequently plays on the course.
Woods hasn’t missed a tournament because of injury since his return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge in November 2017. Before that, he missed the entire 2016 season and nearly the entire 2017 season because of lingering lower-back issues that required disc-fusion surgery. He won his first tournament in more than five years in September at the Tour Championship.
The big question now is whether the injury is a minor setback or a potentially lingering issue for Woods. In recent events he’s struggled to stand out — he finished tied for 20th at the Farmers Insurance Open, tied for 15th at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club and tied for 10th at the Mexico Championship last month.
Woods, 43, is well aware of the challenges he faces as he moves into the latter stages of his prolific career. He told reporters last month he draws inspiration from what Phil Mickelson, 48, has accomplished in recent years with his game.
“What Phil has done has been extraordinary,” Woods said last month at the Genesis Open. “He’s just been so consistent.
“To see what he did last year in Mexico at 47 years old gave me confidence that I could somehow do it maybe last year, and I was able to finally end my season just like he did with a win earlier in the year.”