One day before the deadline, Tiger Woods announced on his website that he will not be playing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The heartfelt note 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.”
He added, “Presently, I have no timetable for my return to golf, but my treatments are continuing and going well”. With the Masters around the corner, it seems unlikely that Woods will be playing.
Although he says that his rehabilitation is going well, this gives no insight as to how he’s actually doing. Is he still “staying horizontal” as his doctor suggested? Is he back swinging golf clubs? Is he not playing in the API to rest up for the Masters, or is he not playing because he just can’t play? All of these questions and no answers.
There is no doubt that Tiger has a legitimate reason for opting out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but the excuses from other Tour players have many fans and other pros disappointed. This will be the first year of the tournament with Arnie gone, and you would think that the pros would want to be there to support and honor his legacy.
Billy Horschel was one of the pros to use social media as his platform to express his disappointment:
Disappointing. Totally understand schedule issues. But 1st year without AP. Honor an icon! Without him wouldn’t be in position we are today https://t.co/yzaIqbbSpM
— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) March 7, 2017
The tweet he was responding to said, “Only 10 of the world’s top 25 golfers are currently committed to next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational (49 of the top 50 played WGC-Mexico last week) “. It’s shameful that players show up for a WGC event for points and miss an event that honors a golf legend the year after his passing.
Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen backed Horschel’s sentiment and said, “I think it’s a great way to say thank you to Mr Palmer for everything he’s done in golf. I love the golf course, and I wanted to work it back in. I just think it’s a tournament that, if you can, you should play it every year.”
Of course those players opting out sited schedule conflicts or personal engagements, which you can’t blame them for, it just seems like attending this event would be made priority, at least this year.