It’s official: Tiger Woods will not be playing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, an event he has won eight times. No other player has won the event more than twice.
Woods did not play from the 2015 Wyndham Championship until the 2016 Hero World Challenge.
He had set an aggressive schedule for himself in early 2017, committing to four events in a five-week span. He missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and withdrew the following week at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic due to back spasms after he shot a first round 77.
He would subsequently withdraw from the Genesis Open and the Honda Classic.
Tiger broke the news himself on his Twitter: “Sadly missing the 2017 API. I really wanted to be there. My best wishes to the Palmer family & everyone at Bay Hill.”
As always, Woods was very noncommittal as to whether he would be returning to play at the Masters or any other time soon. He is not eligible for the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. Woods could play in the Puerto Rico Open that is played simultaneously to the Match Play, but it’s HIGHLY UNLIKELY that he would skip Bay Hill and play in an event he has never played in.
The only other event Woods could play before Augusta is the Shell Houston Open. Woods has never played the Houston Open or the week before the Masters.
He released the following statement on TigerWoods.com
“Unfortunately, due to ongoing rest and rehabilitation on my back, I won’t be able to play in this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. 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. Arnold has meant so much to me and my family; I thought of him as a close friend, and Sam and Charlie were both born in the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. He will be greatly missed and can never truly be replaced.
Presently, I have no timetable for my return to golf, but my treatments are continuing and going well.”