Tiger Woods will not defend Arnold Palmer Invitational championship


Ty Wright / Valencia Voice

Justin Rose (middle) is currently ranked sixth in the world rankings, and placed second last year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational kicks off this week in Orlando, and was shaping up to have a field featuring five of the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, including the top three: Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson.

That WAS the case.

Tiger Woods withdrew from the tournament on Tuesday after feeling his lingering back couldn’t make it through the week.

Injuries have plagued Woods this year leading to a slow start to the 2014 season. The familiar fairways of Bay Hill Golf Club were looking to be a nice place to try and regain his dominant form.

Woods has won the Arnold Palmer Invitational eight times, including the last two years, which is tied with Sam Snead for most wins in a single event on the PGA Tour.

The only other players with multiple victories at this event: Tom Kite (1982, 1989), Loren Roberts (1994-95), and Ernie Els (1998, 2010).

The Arnold Palmer Invitational wraps up the ‘Florida swing,’ and for many golfers is the final tuneup leading up to next months Masters Tournament.

Many professional golfers reside in Florida, and the Orlando area leads the pack.

“It’s nice to only have a 20 minute drive from your home to the venue, so it’s always excited to be here in Orlando,” said Henrik Stenson.

Several golfers are off to a hot start early on this season, with perhaps none hotter than 23-year-old Patrick Reed.

Coming off a win at the World Golf Championship two weeks ago at Doral, Reed already has three PGA Tour wins already in his young career, and considers himself among the top golfers on tour.

“When it comes down to it, that’s what I believe in, and that’s how I see myself as a player, said Reed. “You have to have that belief in yourself. If you don’t then you’re not going to play like it, and you’re definitely not going to be contending on Sundays.

After posting five top 10’s in his seven  starts, including a victory and two second place finishes this year, Bubba Watson looks to be in the mix as well this week. Watson was also named February PGA Tour Player of the Month.

Reed, Stenson, Watson and the rest of the field will all try to dethrone the Bay Hill in Woods. First round action starts on Thursday, and will conclude on Sunday.

So far this year, Jimmy Walker (three wins) and Patrick Reed (two wins) are the only multiple winners through the first 18 events.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational is also committed and proud of their charity work with the primary charity, The Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. For more information on the hospital visit  www.arnoldpalmerhospital.org

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