Woods withdraws from Bay Hill citing neck injury

Tiger Woods was quick to play down any long-term fears despite withdrawing from this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando citing a neck strain.

“I’d like to send my regrets to the Palmer family and the Orlando fans. Its connection to Arnold makes it one of my favourite tournaments and I’m disappointed to miss it,” said Woods.

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods (Credit: PGA Tour)

“Unfortunately due to a neck strain that I’ve had for a few weeks, I’m forced to withdraw from the API. I’ve been receiving treatment, but it hasn’t improved enough to play. My lower back is fine, and I have no long-term concerns, and I hope to be ready for The Players.”

The eight-time Bay Hill champion, and currently ranked 12th in the world, said he’s been battling with the injury for some weeks.

“Unfortunately due to a neck strain that I’ve had for a few weeks, I’m forced to withdraw from the API,” he said on his Twitter account.

“I’ve been receiving treatment, but it hasn’t improved enough to play.”

“My lower back is fine, and I have no long-time concerns, and I hope to be ready for The Players.”

The week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational was set to be Woods’ 19th appearance at the event, which also celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Woods’ eight victories at Bay Hill is a record, shared with Sam Snead, for most wins at a single event.

He won his first in 2000 and took the top spot in the next three including winning by a massive 11 shots in 2003.

Victories followed in 2008 and 2009 and then again in 2013 ahead of claiming his eighth by two shots over England’s Justin Rose in 2013.

However, Woods did not return until last season and finished tied for fifth place.

Woods last teed-up a fortnight ago at the WGC-Mexico Championship and finished in a share of 10th place.