Woods ‘working hard’ for Masters

Tiger Woods says he is working hard to be ready for the Masters, though he will miss next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The 14-time major winner has been out of action since the beginning of February when he withdrew midway through his first round at the Farmers Insurance Open due to back pain.

That came after he recorded the worst round of his professional career – an 82 – at the Waste Management Phoenix Open the week before.

Following his withdrawal, Woods announced he would taking an indefinite break from the game and would not be returning until he felt his game was “tournament-ready”.

And he has now confirmed that he will not be teeing it up at Bay Hill, where he has won eight times, just three weeks before the year’s first major at Augusta.

“I spoke to Arnold today and told him that I will not play in his tournament this year,” he said in a statement on his official website. “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.

“I hope to be ready for the Masters, and I will continue to work hard preparing for Augusta.

“I want to thank everyone again for their support.”

With the AP Invitational ruled out, that leaves only the Valero Texas Open and the Shell Houston Open prior to Augusta.