Tiger Woods announced Friday morning that he is committed to play in next week’s Valspar Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill later this month.
Woods finished T-12 at the Honda Classic last week and said he was still waiting to determine the rest of his pre-Masters schedule. The Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course will represent Woods’ fourth PGA Tour start of the season.
This will be the first Valspar Championship appearance for Woods. His options were limited for pre-Masters prep as he wasn’t eligible for this week’s WGC-Mexico Championship or the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in late March.
Woods hasn’t played Bay Hill since he won there for a record eighth time in 2013. He was scheduled to play in the event in 2014 but withdrew because of back pain.
Woods finished T-23 in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in January to begin his season. He missed the cut the next time out after a second-round 76 at the Genesis Open at Riviera.
Woods shot even par last week at PGA National to place solo 12th in the Honda Classic, by far his most promising tournament start since 2015. He said he was surprised at how quickly he was progressing with his new swing following a fourth back surgery last April and that he’s right on track in his pre-Masters build up.
“I need to keep building on it,” Woods said. “Keep building my body, keep building towards April. That was the goal when I first came back. I told you guys at Torrey, (I’ll) try and get everything situated for April and I feel like I’m right on track for that.”
Woods was pleased with his ballstriking all week in tough, windy conditions and stressed the importance of playing in enough tournaments before the Masters.
These will likely be Woods’ final two starts before the Masters and allow him two full weeks off before heading to Augusta National.
“I feel like I’ve really hit the ball well,” Woods said after the Honda Classic. “I missed the golf ball in the correct spots and I had control of my ball. That’s something I’m very proud of. Each and every time I’ve come out to tournaments, I’m getting the feel of the round faster. … The more I play tournament golf, the better I’ll get at it.”