Tiger Woods pulls out of Palmer invite with back spasms

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Orlando: Tiger Woods pulled out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Tuesday, citing back spasms that have plagued him since last August.

The Masters may be next.

Woods, the defending champion, dealt with back issues in his last event, the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, two weeks ago. The previous week, he pulled out of the Honda Classic in the final round with five holes to play.

“I personally called Arnold today to tell him that, sadly, I won’t be able to play in his tournament this year,” Woods wrote on his website. “I would like to express my regrets to the Orlando fans, the volunteers, the tournament staff and the sponsors for having to miss the event. Unfortunately, my back spasms and the pain haven’t subsided.

“It’s too early to know about the Masters, and I will continue to be evaluated and work closely with my doctors. I feel badly that I won’t be able to play in this great tournament this week.”

Palmer responded by saying, “I am certainly sorry that Tiger is not able to play. Quite obviously, we will miss having him here this week. He called me to tell me that his back was still giving him a lot of trouble and he didn’t feel he should play. I told him I understood and wished him well.”

Woods has never missed the Masters, playing in every one since his first in 1995, when he was the low amateur.

He has missed majors, however. In 2008, he missed the British Open and PGA Championship following reconstructive surgery to his left knee following his victory in the 2008 U.S. Open. And he missed the 2011 U.S. Open and British Open due to recurring knee problems and an Achilles injury.

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