The 2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational is set to begin on Thursday. Golf’s biggest star, however, won’t participate in the tournament.
Tiger Woods has withdrawn from the event. He’s being bothered by a back injury that has affected him in recent weeks.
On March 2, the ailment forced Woods to withdraw from the Honda Classic. The following week, he set a personal record for a high score in a final round, shooting a 78 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral. This time, the pain from the back spasms was too much for Woods to play through.
The most significant part of Woods’s decision is that it comes just three weeks before the start of the Masters. The 38-year-old has been dealing with the injury since the beginning of March, and isn’t sure if he’ll be ready to play in the first major championship of 2014.
"It's too early to know about the Masters, and I will continue to be evaluated and work closely with my doctors,” Woods said on his website. “I feel badly that I won't be able to play in this great tournament this week."
It’s been almost three years, since Woods last missed a major. He missed the U.S. Open and Open Championship in 2011, because a knee and Achilles injury. In 2008. ACL surgery forced him to sit out the Open Championship and PGA Championship. He hasn’t won a major, since the 2008 U.S. Open.
If Woods is healthy for the Masters, he’ll enter the event without a strong showing in 2014. In four tournaments this year, Woods’s best finish was 25th place. Before withdrawing at the Honda Classic, he tied for 41st at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. His first tournament of the New Year, the Farmers Insurance Open, saw Woods make the cut, but not finish the event.