Woods withdrew from this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational in
Florida, a tournament he has won a mind-boggling eight times, citing
back spasms that plagued him in the two tournaments he played
earlier in March.
"I've talked to him (and) he was a little worried about how quick he
can recover from this," Palmer, who hosts this week's event at
Orlando's Bay Hill Golf Club, told Golf Channel. "But once you have
a problem like that and have to withdraw, there's always that doubt
whether you can get it back where you want it.
"I would say there's a good chance he'll be 100 percent for Augusta,
but you never know."
Golf Week, citing an unnamed source, said on its website that Woods
has been diagnosed with a bulging disc in his back. The player has
not commented on the report.
World number one Woods is not expected to play before the April
10-13 Masters at Augusta National, which means he will enter the
year's first major without having competed in over a month.
Palmer, affectionately nicknamed 'The King' and a winner of 62 PGA
Tour titles in his illustrious career, believes Woods would have
been helped by a pre-Masters gallop at a course he has dominated.
"He'll be there and he'll be dangerous whatever happens (but)
playing Bay Hill would have helped him because he likes the golf
course," said Palmer, 84.
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"He can swing where he knows he wants the ball to go and that's
important. It gives him the confidence he would need for Augusta."
Woods has won the Masters four times, but not since 2005, though he
has been in contention several times.
The 38-year-old has made no secret of his desire to win more majors
than anyone in history. He is four shy of the record 18 majors won
by Jack Nicklaus.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina;
editing by Frank Pingue)
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