PONTE VEDRA — Tiger Woods may know if he’s playing next week’s Valspar Championship, but he isn’t making it public.
Asked Tuesday at The Players Championship whether he would play next week’s PGA Tour stop at Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor, Woods said, “We’ll see how everything goes. This is an important week and I’m going to focus on this week. I’ll let you guys know later in the week.”
Woods, 43, showed up at Innisbrook last March for the first time since 1996 and put on a show. He finished one shot behind champion Paul Casey in a performance that produced overflow galleries and the largest TV audience for any non-Masters golf event since the 2015 PGA Championship.
The entry deadline for this year’s tournament is 5 p.m. Friday. Woods tees off at 8:32 a.m. Friday, so he could wait until after his second round to commit to the Valspar.
Earlier this month, Woods withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando due to a neck strain.
“It’s not painful now,” he said. “It was getting to the point where it was affecting my setup, my back swing, my through swing. It was gradually getting worse.”
A missed cut this week wouldn’t be good for Woods, but it might not be too bad for area golf fans. Woods has played in three tournaments this year, which he said is “about right.” He planned on having four rounds prior to this week before the neck strain. If he only plays two competitive rounds at the Players, then he may feel he needs to play more prior to the Masters.
That turned out to be the reason he showed up at the Valspar last year. He missed the cut in Los Angeles three weeks earlier and needed to add a tournament.
Valspar is one of only two realistic tournaments remaining for Woods to play before the Masters in early April. The WGC Match Play tournament is the other. The Match Play is the week after Valspar and Woods hinted that he would commit if he remains healthy.
“If nothing flares up, then I’ll play,” he said.
Day to Day
Jason Day was forced to withdraw from last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational due to a lower back strain. He is in the field this week and also scheduled to play the Valspar and Match Play.
After a practice round Tuesday, Day said he feels fine and is ready to play three straight weeks.
“I am going to play next week,” said Day, who is ranked 12th in the current Official World Golf Rankings. “... I was supposed to play four in a row, and that very rarely happens. But it’s nice to have these in a row.”
Quote of the Day
“Yeah, I do. Wins.” — Tiger Woods, when asked if there are certain statistics that he looks at more than others. Woods has 80 career PGA Tour wins.