Tiger Woods made a playing commitment, but it wasn’t the one many people were expecting.
With the deadline for committing only hours away, Woods released a statement on his website Friday that he will not play next week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, where he has won eight times.
“I spoke to Arnold today and told him that I will not play in his tournament this year,” Woods said in the statement. “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.”
Woods missed the cut in the Waste Management Phoenix late in January, withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open during the first round a week later because of back spasms and later said he will not be back until he believes his game is competitive.
Earlier this week, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews announced that Woods will play in the four-hole Champion Golfers’ Challenge on July 15, one day before the start of the 144th Open Championship on the Old Course.
“We are looking forward to a wonderful celebration of the rich heritage of The Open at the Champion Golfers’ Challenge,” R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said.
Woods has won the oldest championship in the world three times, including in 2000 and 2005.
Others who have committed to the Champion Golfers’ Challenge include 2014 champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, Gary Player of South Africa, Tom Watson, Peter Thomson of Australia, Nick Faldo of England, Bob Charles of New Zealand, Tony Jackin of England, Sandy Lyle of Scotland, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els of South Africa, David Duval, Padraig Harrington of Ireland, Mark O’Meara, Justin Leonard, Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, Paul Lawrie of Scotland, Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa, Stewart Cink and John Daly.
The event will be played on the first, second 17th and 18th holes of the famed Old Course.
The occasion will celebrate the life and career of Kel Nagle of Australia, winner of the 100th Open in 1960 at St. Andrews, who died in January at the age of 94.