On Friday, Tiger Woods made the somewhat shocking decision to skip next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, revealed the decision on behalf of his client citing Tiger dealing with back stiffness that’s left him unprepared for tournament competition.
Woods is the eight-time champion of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. A return to the tournament this year would have marked Woods’ return play after just two weeks off following his 68th-place finish at the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. Tiger surprisingly skipped the WGC-Mexico Championship and then also bowed out of his hometown Honda Classic this week. It’s unknown at this time whether Woods will take part in the upcoming Players Championship from March 12-15.
At the Genesis Invitational, Woods said putting together the puzzle pieces of his schedule is an ongoing conversation.
“That’s the fun part of trying to figure this whole comeback, ‘How much do I play, when do I play, do I listen to the body or do I fight through it?'” said Woods. “There are some things I can push and some things I can’t. And so I had a theory this year that I may play about the same amount. What did I play, 12 times last year, and so that’s kind of my number for the year … just because of the physical toll and I want to stay out here for just a little bit longer.”
Changes to Woods’ schedule such as this, though, should not come as a major shock. He also revealed on a recent call that for him — at least this time of the year — everything is about the Masters anyway.
“Once we get to Florida, it feels like the Masters is right around the corner,” Woods said. “But I’ve been thinking about this … probably since Australia. I was so focused on what I had to do with those two weeks, in the Bahamas, as well as Australia. But once that was done, my prep has been just like it usually is. It’s what do I need to do to get ready for the Masters. I’ve been fortunate to have done this now five times, and to try and have everything peak together for just an incredible week, it’s hard to do.”