ORLANDO, Fla. – With the King holding court at Bay Hill, it was only a matter of time before Arnold Palmer was asked about the most glaring omission from this week’s field.
Tiger Woods called Palmer Friday to tell him that he would not be playing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, an event Woods has won eight times. It marks the second year in a row Woods has missed the event, sidelined last year with a back injury and this time opting to continue his self-imposed hiatus from competitive golf.
Although Woods’ return to the Tour is unknown, Palmer offered his take on what the 14-time major champ needs to focus in order to return to the top of his game.
“There’s only one thing I can say, and that’s practice and confidence,” Palmer said in his annual pre-tournament news conference. “Regain the confidence he had when he was starting out. That was what made him what he is, and that’s the way he’ll get it back, just regain the confidence and ability to hit the golf ball.”
Woods missed the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open after a second-round 82, and then withdrew from last month’s Farmers Insurance Open after 11 holes in his most recent competitive appearance. While there has been no shortage of recent opinions regarding Woods’ best course of action, Palmer believes he would be well-served to look inward.
“This is an opinion that I haven’t even given to anybody, and that is he should do what he thinks he should do with his game,” Palmer said. “I think he should find a coach that he has confidence in, and go work on his game. That’s my best advice.”