Tiger Woods has expressed his disappointment at being unable to play in next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational and revealed he has “no timetable” for his return to golf.
Woods issued a statement on his website confirming his withdrawal from the field at Bay Hill, which is the first staging of the tournament since Palmer passed away on the eve of the Ryder Cup last year.
The 14-time major champion had hoped to be part of the event to honour the legendary Palmer, but he is not yet ready to compete as he continues his rehabilitation from his ongoing back problems.
Woods has played only seven competitive rounds of golf since making his comeback at the Hero World Challenge in December, his first tournament after a 15-month absence following the third back operation of his career.
The 41-year-old withdrew from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic six weeks ago after firing an opening 77, citing back spasms for his inability to continue.
Woods, an eight-time winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, now looks unlikely to feature at the Masters next month, although he insisted his latest round of treatments were “going well”.
The statement read: “Unfortunately, due to ongoing rest and rehabilitation on my back, I won’t be able to play in this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.
“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, and Sam and Charlie were both born in the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.
“He will be greatly missed and can never truly be replaced.
“Presently, I have no timetable for my return to golf, but my treatments are continuing and going well.”