Woods will be keeping himself busy on his road back to Augusta National
Tiger Woods’ return to golf has been a positive one with the 14-time major winner recently earning his first top-15 finish since 2015. With the 2018 Masters just a month away, Woods aims to continue making progress ahead of the event he’s won four times by getting in some additional work.
Woods announced Friday that he will not only compete in the Arnold Palmer Invitational as expected, he will also play in the Valspar Championship next week. Both events are near his home in Florida with the Valspar taking place at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor and the Arnold Palmer, which Woods has won eight times, being hosted at Bay Hill in Orlando.
With this schedule, Woods will be teeing off in back-to-back weeks leaving a three-week gap between the Arnold Palmer and the Masters. He also played the Genesis Open and Honda Classic in consecutive weeks in February.
The reason for the addition of Valspar to his schedule is that Woods does not qualify for WGC events. He would normally get his pre-Masters work in at this week’s WGC Mexico Championship or the WGC Dell Match Play at the end of March, but because his world ranking is so low, he is unable to get into those tournaments.
Presuming he completes these two events, Woods will have played five tournaments before the Masters. For the sake of comparison, in his last two truly healthy years (2012-13) Woods also played five tournaments prior to the Masters.
“I think that I need to get back in the gym again and start training,” said Woods after a 12th-place finish at PGA National last week. “I just need to keep feeling good. Like I said, get back in the gym. Body feels good. I just need to keep feeling good. Get back in the gym and keep it strong. I really hit it well and I was able to control, especially in this wind. It’s not easy to do and I was able to do most of the week.”
“I need to keep playing tournament golf, but I need to keep building on it,” he added. “Keep building my body, keep building towards April. That was the goal when I first came back. I told you guys at Torrey, try and get everything situated for April and I feel like I’m right on track for that.”
The Valspar Championships suddenly has a fairly loaded field with names like Justin Rose, Patrick Reed, Louis Oosthuizen, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson in addition to Woods. The Arnold Palmer Invitational will feature an exceptional field as it does every year.