Arnold Palmer will miss having Tiger Woods at his Bay Hill tournament this week, but says he sympathizes with the ailing golfer.
“He called me to tell me that his back was still giving him a lot of trouble and he didn’t feel he should play,” Palmer said in a statement. “I told him I understood and wished him well.”
Back spasms have pestered Woods since the Barclays last summer. Pain recently forced him to withdraw from the Honda Classic, and he was visibly hurting during the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
Woods had previously vowed to play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational — he is the defending champion and has won eight times at Bay Hill — but he announced his withdrawal Tuesday.
“It’s unfortunate that he won’t be able to defend his title, but we still have a wonderful field and will still have a great tournament,” said Scott Wellington, the tournament director.
It remains to be seen if Woods can recover in time for the upcoming Masters.