Sports

Four-time golf Masters champ Woods 'ramping up' for Augusta

Four-time golf Masters champ Woods 'ramping up' for Augusta

Woods still hasn't confirmed whether he will play in the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook in Florida, the week after the Players Championship.

"From here on out, it's very complicated", Woods said. I will be taking next week off and playing in the @APinv and @THEPLAYERSChamp. This particular PGA Tour events remains one of the only ones he's yet to win in his career.

That meant a five-week tournament stretch had Woods committed to play in the Honda Classic.

"If there is ever a year when I feel I can miss this Irish Open, it's this year", McIlroy told BBC Sport Northern Ireland.

In four starts as a professional at the Honda Classic he has never won.

While Honda has survived nicely without Woods, increasing attendance each of the past three years - two of those without Woods in the field - Woods' inclusion last year clearly was a boost to the television ratings. He finished T12 before tying for second at the following week's Valspar Championship. This year is even more complicated.

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Woods, who has been unable to compete in Mexico because of back issues, played nine holes on Tuesday and Wednesday and said he is still trying to deal with the challenge of playing in the high altitude at Chapultepec, which is some 7,000-plus feet above sea level and results in golf balls traveling farther.

Woods won The Players in 2001 and 2013. He was forced to withdraw with back problems during his final round in 2014, problems that ultimately led him to undergo surgery in March of that year.

"It's very complicated. Next week's (the Honda Classic) at home for me (Palm Beach Gardens), then there's a tournament that I've won there eight times (the Arnold Palmer Invitational)".

"At the end of the day, it's being race ready enough for April and making sure I get enough competitive rounds in".

The Players Championship was moved to March this year from its position in May in 2018.

The last of the 43-year-old's 14 Majors to date came in the 2008 US Open and, although it is 14 years since the last of his four wins at Augusta National, Woods is firmly among the favourites for the green jacket in April.


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