Golf

Tiger Woods’ Bay Hill withdrawal leaves us speculating

As world No. 1 Tiger Woods continues to battle injuries that affect his bid to return to vintage form, the harsh reality that the golf world may never see the same electrifying player that changed the game is setting in. 

The fact that he’s pulled out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill is telling of how grave the situation is. Woods has won eight times at the Orlando layout, one of three venues where he’s finished atop the leaderboard that many times. 

There are two ways to look at the set of circumstances. 

It’s Bay Hill, the injury is serious

This school of thought subscribes to the notion that Woods has an obvious comfort level at Bay Hill. For him to pull out of an event where he knows he can dominate and carry valuable momentum into the biggest event of the year in The Masters is a big deal. 

Tiger Woods’ most dominant stretches of golf were about confidence and mental toughness. Woods used to be known for his ability to compartmentalize everything, including injuries and fight through them in order to achieve success. The 2008 U.S. Open where he won on a broken leg in a gritty performance is a prime example of that. 

For him to walk away relatively quickly could mean his body is in worse shape than it appears. 

The Masters is what Woods lives for, and he’s ensuring he’s fully healthy 

Tiger’s made no mistake of verbalizing his career is about winning majors. He wants needs No. 15 right now in order to have any shot at eclipsing Jack Nicklaus’ elusive 18 professional majors. 

At age 38 and with a body that has taken a beating over the last several years, Woods is running out of time and must start to win the biggest events in bunches again if he’s going to accomplish his career Holy Grail. 

The legend has done just about everything else in the game, and has a shot at breaking Sam Snead’s all-time wins record of 82, but the majors are where it’s at for Woods, and he’s in trouble if he’s not going to compete in them anytime soon. Perhaps pulling out of Arnie’s event is the way he can ensure he gives it his best shot.  

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Photo Credit: Keith Allison / Wikimedia Commons

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His credits include Yahoo Sports and Bleacher Report, among others.
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