Published: Thu, March 07, 2019
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Woods pulls out of Bay Hill with neck strain

Woods pulls out of Bay Hill with neck strain

Tiger Woods is withdrawing from the Arnold Palmer Invitational due to a neck injury, delivering a big blow to the Orlando tournament that surged in popularity when he played previous year.

Woods, who returned to competition last season after a lengthy recovery from spinal fusion surgery, said he had been dealing with the strain for a few weeks and that he hoped to play in The Players Championship next week.

"I've been receiving treatment, but it hasn't improved enough to play", Woods said on a Twitter post. "My lower back is fine, and I have no long-term concerns, and I hope to be ready for The Players. Its connection to Arnold makes it one of my favorite tournaments and I'm disappointed to miss it".

Tiger Woods is coming off a 10th-place finish at the WGC-Mexico Championship, and there was plenty of optimism from the TIGER BACK crowd heading into this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

Meanwhile, Marc Leishman, the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational victor, believes Woods would have certainly played this weekend if he was able.

Assuming Woods plays next week and comes out of it with no injuries, then he will likely add one (or maybe even two) more tournaments to his schedule before Augusta. Woods tied for 11th at The Players in 2018.

Woods' first appearance at Bay Hill since 2013 generated record crowds and a massive spike in TV ratings.

Woods didn't specify what caused his neck pain, but he skipped the Honda Classic last week and during the British Open past year, he wore KT Tape on his neck after he woke up with stiffness. Any injury to the 80-time PGA Tour victor is sure to cause concern as his return has been a major boost to television ratings and media interest. And given the 14-time major champions" plethora of back ailments, fans could be forgiven for thinking that "this is it' all over again.

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