Tiger Woods of the United States plays his second shot on the first hole during the pro-am ahead of the Hero World Challenge at Albany, The Bahamas on November 30, 2016 in Nassau, Bahamas. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP
Four-time Masters winner Tiger Woods said Thursday he would miss the Arnold Palmer Invitational, putting his participation in next month’s Masters tournament seriously in doubt.
The American made the announcement via Twitter saying he was out of next week’s PGA Tour tournament because of back problems. He has not played since he withdrew from the Dubai Desert Classic on February 3.
“Unfortunately, due to ongoing rest and rehabilitation on my back, I won’t be able to play in this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational,” the 41-year old Woods said. “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 …. He will be greatly missed and can never truly be replaced.”
Palmer died at age 87 in September.
The 14-time major-winner Woods returned from a 15-month injury lay-off in December and has slumped in the world rankings.
“I have no timetable for my return to golf, but my treatments are continuing and going well.”
Speaking at a news conference prior to the Genesis Open in Los Angeles in mid-February, Woods said he was hopeful he could make a successful return in 2017 but also admitted that during the latest long layoff he wondered whether he would ever return to golf.
“There was a time when I didn’t know if I could ever swing a golf club again and play with my kids,” he said.
Woods last won a major title at the 2008 US Open.