Tiger Woods still hoping for Masters appearance despite Arnold Palmer withdrawal

Tiger Woods has not played since pulling out of the Farmers Insurance Open at the start of last month

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The Independent Online

Tiger Woods is still hopeful of competing at the Masters after announcing he will miss next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida.

The 14-time major winner has been out of action since the beginning of last month when he withdrew midway through his first round at the Farmers Insurance Open due to back pain.

The 39-year-old then decided to take an indefinite break from the game although he insisted his back was not an issue and he wanted to concentrate on getting his game “tournament ready”.

He has now confirmed that he will not be teeing it up at Bay Hill, where he has won eight times, just three weeks before the year’s first major at Augusta.

“I spoke to Arnold today and told him that I will not play in his tournament this year,” he said in a statement on his official website. “I’m sorry I won’t be in Orlando next week, but I know it will be a really successful event.

“I’ve put in a lot of time and work on my game and I’m making strides, but like I’ve said, I won’t return to the PGA Tour until my game is tournament ready and I can compete at the highest level. I hope to be ready for the Masters, and I will continue to work hard preparing for Augusta.

“I want to thank everyone again for their support.”

Woods’ absence in Orlando means that if he is to return to action before the Masters begins on 9 April, the Valero Texas Open and the Shell Houston Open will be his only opportunities to play tournament golf. He has played just 47 holes this season.