Tiger Woods will not return to the Valspar Championship this year.
Woods did not send tournament officials a commitment notice after his Friday round at the Players Championship, where he shot 1-under 71 and is 3 under overall. When asked immediately after his round whether he would play the Valspar, he said, “I don’t know. Let me go have lunch first."
Woods, 43, had until Friday to decide whether he would enter the Innisbrook tournament. He left the possibility of a return open throughout the week, saying, “We’ll see how it goes. This is an important week and I’ll let you guys know later in the week."
Woods withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week due to a neck strain. He said that has not been a problem this week. Although he has not yet committed, Woods likely will play in the WGC Match Play event in two weeks before playing in the Masters.
Last year, Woods played at Innisbrook for the first time since 1996. He drew huge crowds during all four rounds and ended up in a tie for second with Patrick Reed, one shot behind winner Paul Casey. After the Valspar Championship, he went on to play in 14 more tournaments and won the season ending Tour Championship. It was his 80th PGA Tour victory.
Overall, Woods played in 18 tournaments in 2018 and said he would not play that many this season. He has played in four tournaments in 2019, with his best finish being a tie for 10th at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
“I’m 43 with four back surgeries, so just manage what I have and understand that I am going to have good weeks and bad weeks,’’ Woods said prior to the Players Championship. “There are times over the years where I pushed it, and I’ve won tournaments doing it that way. But I’ve also cost myself a few years here and there because of it."
While Woods will not be in the field, the tournament did get a boost Wednesday with the commitment of Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world. Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Jon Rahm and defending champion Paul Casey are other notables in the tournament.
When/where: March 21-24, Innisbrook Golf Resort, Copperhead Course, Palm Harbor
Tickets: Wednesday ($10), Thursday, Friday, Sunday ($39), Saturday ($49). Go to Valsparchampionship.com
Defending champion: Paul Casey
Purse: $6.7 million ($1,170,00 to winner)
TV: Thursday-Friday 2-6 p.m. on Golf Channel; Saturday-Sunday 3-6 on NBC
Social media: @ValsparChamp