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Woods withdraws from Arnold Palmer Invitational

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The sudden-death playoff in the 1987 Masters included Seve Ballesteros, a four-time major champion who already had two green jackets; Greg Norman, who had finished one shot behind winner Jack Nicklaus the previous year; and Larry Mize, whose biggest claim to fame was being a native of Augusta, Ga. When Ballesteros was eliminated on the first extra hole (No. 10), it appeared that Norman, who had been beaten in the previous year’s PGA by a Bob Tway hole-out bunker shot on the 72nd hole, would finally get a green jacket of his own. But fate had other ideas. Mize holed a 140-foot chip shot on No. 11 and Norman missed his 50-foot birdie putt from the fringe.  - 

A nagging back injury has derailed Tiger Woods in his quest to win at Bay Hill for a record ninth time.

Entering this week as the two-time defending champion at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods was slated to play the first two rounds alongside Harris English and Graeme McDowell. Instead, the 38-year-old tweeted late Tuesday that he will not play because of lingering back spasms:

 

 

The injury is the same one that caused him to withdraw during the final round of the Honda Classic earlier this month, and Woods was clearly pained while competing in his most recent start at Trump National Doral.

Woods called Palmer personally Tuesday afternoon to announce his withdrawal.

"I am certainly sorry that Tiger is not able to play. Quite obviously, we will miss having him here this week," Palmer in a statement. "He called me to tell me that his back was still giving him a lot of trouble and he didn't feel he should play. I told him I understood and wished him well."

Woods' next anticipated start would be the Masters in three weeks, but a statement posted to his website explaining the withdrawal raised questions.

"It's too early to know about the Masters," Woods said. "I will continue to be evaluated and work closely with my doctors. I feel badly that I won't be able to play in this great tournament this week."

This marks just the second time that Woods has missed the Arnold Palmer Invitational during his professional career. He also skipped it in 2010 during a lengthy absence from competition following his November 2009 car crash.