Injury has prevented Tiger Woods from seeking a record ninth title at Bay Hill this week – and tournament host Arnold Palmer believes the world No 1 will also find it “tough” to match Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.
Woods announced on Tuesday that continuing back problems would prevent him from playing the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a tournament he has won eight times, to share the PGA Tour record with Sam Snead, who racked up eight wins in the Greater Greensboro Open.
Woods, 38, has played just three times in 2014, missing the cut in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines – scene of his last major title in 2008 – and then withdrawing after 13 holes of the final round of The Honda Classic. A week later, Woods again complained of lower back pain during the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He finished the round but shot 78, the highest Sunday score of his career.
“I don’t think 38 years is the ultimate stopping point for his quest to do what Jack did. I think it lessens the possibility of that happening,” said Palmer, who revealed he himself will undergo a back operation after the Masters, where he acts as an honorary starter.
“It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be tough to keep the concentration and the game that is necessary to win majors and the fact that these young guys are tough and strong and, if they continue to play as well as they’ve been playing, it’s going to be tough.”