Woods out at Bay Hill, no timetable for return
March 09, 2017
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- March 09, 2017
- Tiger Woods has one top 10 since the beginning of 2014. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods’ absence from competitive golf will continue indefinitely, causing him to miss next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational and putting an appearance at the Masters in question.
“Unfortunately, due to ongoing rest and rehabilitation on my back, I won’t be able to play in this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational,” Woods said in a statement Thursday evening. “I’m especially disappointed because I wanted to be at Bay Hill to help honor Arnold. This is one event I didn’t want to skip.”
Woods also said that his timetable to return to golf is uncertain, but his treatments are “continuing and going well.” The first round of the Masters is four weeks away.
Woods hasn’t played a tournament since withdrawing due to back spasms after shooting 77 in the first round of last month’s Dubai Desert Classic. The back injury also forced him to miss scheduled starts at The Honda Classic and Genesis Open. He canceled a pre-tournament press conference at the Genesis Open, which is run by his foundation, and was unable to attend the event after his doctors advised him to “stay horizontal,” according to an Associated Press report.
“I don’t think he’s doing that well right now physically,” U.S. Presidents Cup captain Steve Stricker said earlier this week. Woods is scheduled to be one of Stricker’s Captain’s Assistants at the event.
Woods was sidelined for 15 months after having multiple procedures on his back. His hiatus ended in December at his Hero World Challenge in December. He finished 15th in the 17-man field, but also showed promising signs by leading the field in birdies and swinging hard on several tee shots. He was scheduled to start 2017 by playing four events in a five-week stretch, but lasted just three rounds before being sidelined again.
Woods missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, his first official PGA TOUR event since he finished 10th at the Wyndham Championship in August 2015, then flew to Dubai to compete the following week. His agent, Mark Steinberg, said Woods started having back spasms after the first round.
This year’s Masters will mark the 20th anniversary of his 12-shot victory in his first major as a professional. Woods, a four-time winner at Augusta National, has missed two of the past three Masters after making 19 consecutive appearances dating back to his amateur days.
Woods’ history at Bay Hill Club & Lodge also began before he turned professional. He won the 1991 U.S. Junior Amateur there, the first of three consecutive victories in that event. His eight wins at the Arnold Palmer Invitational tie the PGA TOUR record for most victories at a single event (Woods, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational; Sam Snead, Greater Greensboro Open).
Woods has been victorious in four of his past five appearances at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but has not played there since his 2013 win, which was part of a five-victory campaign that earned him the PGA TOUR Player of the Year Award. He also won four consecutive years (2000-03) to match the PGA TOUR record for most consecutive wins in a single event.
"Arnold has meant so much to me and my family; I thought of him as a close friend, and Sam and Charlie (Woods’ children) were both born in the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies,” Woods said in the statement. “He will be greatly missed and can never truly be replaced.”