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Woods pulls out of Bay Hill because of back pain

Tiger Withdraws From Bay Hill

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Tiger Woods withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Tuesday because of persistent pain in his back, creating even more uncertainty for golf's No. 1 player with the Masters only three weeks away.

And that's if Woods can even play in the Masters.

"I personally called Arnold today to tell him that, sadly, I won't be able to play in his tournament this year," Woods said on his website.

"I would like to express my regrets to the Orlando fans, the volunteers, the tournament staff and the sponsors for having to miss the event. Unfortunately, my back spasms and the pain haven't subsided."

Woods had to withdraw after 13 holes of the final round at the Honda Classic three weeks ago because of what he called back spasms and pain in his lower back. He tried to defend his title the following week at Doral, only for his back to flare up again in the final round. He closed with a 78, the highest Sunday score of his PGA Tour career and the first final round without a birdie.

After a week of rest and treatment, he didn't feel fit to play Bay Hill, where he is an eight-time winner, including the past two years.

"I am certainly sorry that Tiger is not able to play," Palmer said. "Quite obviously, we will miss having him here this week. He called me to tell me that his back was still giving him a lot of trouble and he didn't feel he should play. I told him I understood and wished him well."

This is only the second time that Woods has not played Bay Hill. He also missed in 2010 when he sat out more than four months during the scandal in his personal life.

The Masters, which is April 10-13, is the only major Woods has never missed.

"It's too early to know about the Masters, and I will continue to be evaluable and work closely with my doctors," Woods said. "I feel badly that I won't be able to play in this great tournament this week."

Woods first showed signs of back pain at Bethpage Black at The Barclays in 2012, which he attributed to a soft bed at his hotel. He felt twinges during the final round of the PGA Championship last year, and when his back bothered him in the final round of The Barclays two weeks later, he said it was unrelated.

This has been the longest sustained problem with the lower back. "A bad back is no joke," Woods said at Doral.

Woods is off to the worst start of his 18 years on tour.

At Torrey Pines, where his eight victories included a U.S. Open, Woods shot his highest score on American soil with a 79 to miss the 54-hole cut. He tied for 41st in the Dubai Desert Classic a week later for his worst finish in that event.

Woods had said he spent his offseason working on his body and didn't spend enough time on his game, so it was troubling for him to then deal with yet another injury. He shot a 65 in the third round of the Honda Classic before having what he described as back spasms similar to The Barclays last year.

At Doral, he was only three shots out of the lead going into the final round and in the penultimate group when he said an awkward stance while playing out of a bunker on the sixth fairway of the Blue Monster caused his back to start hurting again.

"That's what set it off and then it was done after that," Woods said at Doral. "Just see if I could actually manage ... keep the spasms at bay."

Woods had said at the start of the Florida swing that he was taking a look at his schedule leading up to the Masters, though he never made it clear if he intended to add another tournament. Woods rarely gives a "yes" or "no" to questions pertaining to his plans.

He has never played the week before any major except for the PGA Championship.

In 2010, after revelations of extramarital affairs, Woods had gone 145 days without hitting a meaningful shot when he arrived at Augusta National. He opened with a 68, his lowest first-round score ever at the Masters, and wound up in a tie for fourth.

Swing coach Sean Foley said he would not read too much into how Woods can prepare for the Masters if he can play.

"I've been coaching on tour long enough now to know that Tuesday doesn't affect Wednesday. There's no rhyme or reason to performance," Foley said in a telephone interview. "Tiger is always about the majors, and he's solely about the majors now. He's got to do the right thing. He's just doing the right due diligence about it."

Join the discussion

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katie01967 March 19 2014 at 2:26 AM

Maybe the steroid use caught up with him. Tiger was always known for his temper tantrums on the course to include throwing club, profane language, and rudeness. The media looked the other way and said "he is so competitive". Isn't an uncontrollable temper an indicator of steroid use? The steroids gave him the strength to be one of the longest ball hitters in the game. Now he is paying the price as his body breaks down.

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2 replies
golphman2001 katie01967 March 19 2014 at 3:07 AM

100% correct. i tried to tell people in 2009 he was running around on his wife when his caddie asked a woman I know to meet tiger for dinner... it was well known he was also on steroids... I hate how the media still kiss his ass...

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naojf22936 katie01967 March 19 2014 at 6:43 AM

Yes, and you're not perfect either, Katie.

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billybuttlooker March 19 2014 at 12:00 AM

Another has been Get back on the porch tiger you can't run with the big dog's anymore

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
gmgpjandon billybuttlooker March 19 2014 at 12:16 AM

Really now! Are you calling my man Tiger a porch monkey? For shame and forsooth on you!

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Glen March 19 2014 at 12:03 AM

The headline says "Woods pulls out of Bay Hill". I think it is safe to say that's not the only place he has pulled out of lately.

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Crystal March 19 2014 at 12:04 AM


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Crystal March 19 2014 at 12:05 AM

GUESS Maybe he's just not getting enough exersex!!!!

Flag Reply +6 rate up
George March 19 2014 at 8:28 AM

Surgery is not always the answer for back pain.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
gmgpjandon March 19 2014 at 12:15 AM

Tiger, try a red head the next time. You will really be surprised at the difference. Assuming of course you're an all the way lover.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Bill March 19 2014 at 3:49 PM

Whenever he is playing poorly suddenly an injury pops up. He is/was one of the great ones.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
rj8459 March 19 2014 at 1:52 AM

Maybe Tiger should hang it up and drive Obama's golf cart. Then the media could cover each round of Hussein's golf. It could be a TV show -- Golf With The Exes. Hope fully, they can start production in a few weeks.

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a392bb March 19 2014 at 12:29 AM

Just go away who cares bet there is more trouble coming his way

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1 reply
himinamis a392bb March 19 2014 at 12:58 AM

Tiger is as good as a golfer gets. Unfortunately, after I heard him curse with a young kid standing a few yards away - I put a jinx on Tiger saying he will 'never' win another major. I allowed him to win a few less meaningful tournaments - but no majors. I want someone with the integrity of a Nicklaus or a Palmer to have the distinction of being the greatest golfer ever. Again, unfortunately, it won't be Tiger.

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