Why Is Tiger Not Playing At Bay Hill?
It has historically been one of his favourite playgrounds, but Tiger Woods is not competing at Bay Hill this week. The 15-time major champion has skipped the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the second consecutive year, an event that the American legend has won on eight occasions, underlining that at 44, his schedule will continue be fluid and comparatively light.
Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent, confirmed that the former world number one's back is “still stiff and not quite ready.”
Woods had revealed his most recent physical struggles at the Genesis Open at Riviera, where he made the cut, but finished at a lowly 68th while doubling hosting duties. Due to that impairment, he did not play in the following week's WGC Mexico Championship, or enter the Honda Classic, ensuring that as we progress into March, the reigning Masters champion has only entered two PGA Tour events in 2020.
The question is where he'll next play - with his defence at Augusta National a month away - but we should expect him to participate in The Players Championship, March 12-15, and potentially at the WGC Match Play Championship, March 25-29, which largely emulates his schedule 12 months ago leading into the first major of the season.
Ultimately, for Woods, his sole objective is being ready for the Masters, noting to media earlier this week:
“My prep has been just like it usually is,” he said. “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. It’s hard to try and get all the shots and have everything dialled in.
“The plan is to prepare the same way. It worked last year, so I’ve got a blueprint for what I need to do and hopefully I can have the same feelings.”
Last year, Woods played in five events before driving down Magnolia Lane, but he will fall short of that total this time, albeit likely only by one tournament. However, as he demonstrated with his stratospheric fifth Green Jacket triumph, competitive readiness is less of a factor for Tiger Woods.
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