Tiger Woods faces race against the clock to be fit for the Masters due to back problems
- Tiger Woods is not guaranteed suitable for when the Masters take place in April
- Woods’ back is still sore and he will miss the Arnold Palmer Invitational
- It is clear that his back melted does not allow him to play for consecutive weeks
It would be hard to imagine a more perfect warm-up tournament for the Masters for Tiger Woods than the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week in Florida. Talk about an event that ticks all the boxes.
A course that he likes? Yes, you could say that – he has won the event eight times.
Decent weather? There is no rain forecast for Orlando, with temperatures predicted in the high 20s.
Tiger Woods faces a race against time while striving to be fit to compete in the Masters
And the Bay Hill tournament is just a two-hour drive from Woods’ house.
So when Tiger was confirmed as a no-show on Friday, while his agent Mark Steinberg revealed that his back was still “painful and stiff” after his appearance at the Genesis Invitational three weeks ago, it was not surprising that the American media went overdrive.
In the best case, how will he be ready in a little over a month for his defense in Augusta? In the worst case, is there more to this last back trouble than we are told?
“It is the new standard,” Steinberg told various American outlets. “Things are from week to week. He is very good to go when he is healthy, and he is not when he is a bit sore. “
Who knows if Tiger is capable of playing in the flagship event of the PGA Tour, the Players Championship, next week?
The hope must be that he can at least play there, as well as the WGC Match Play Championship in Texas at the end of the month, where he is guaranteed to have three group games. In 10 events on the PGA Tour this year, Woods has only played eight league rounds.
Woods will miss the Arnold Palmer Invitational and is struggling to play in consecutive weeks
At the Genesis tournament that he organized, Woods said he would try to play 12 times a year. What becomes clear is that because of his fused back he is no longer able to play for consecutive weeks.
He reached the record of 82 PGA Tour wins in Japan last October after not playing for two months. But it was hardly the masters, especially this year’s edition, where the normal boom around Woods will be staged as the holder of the green jacket. How do you deal with that and do you record it when you’ve barely played?
Meanwhile, the swing of the PGA Tour in Florida started well at the Honda Classic for two former No1s from England – Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. The pair was halfway through the second at PGA National, one shot behind Brendan Steele.
Donald, who shot Friday, 66, already won the Honda event in 2006, while the golden winter of Westwood continues after his victory in Abu Dhabi in January. Shane Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood were three back. Justin Rose and Matt Wallace missed the cut.