Tiger Woods ‘on track’ for the Masters despite neck injury

We’ll have to wait to find out if Tiger Woods will play the Valspar Championship

Older, wiser and no longer able to push his surgery-scarred body beyond the boundaries.

Francesco Molinari won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, finishing two shots clear of England's Matthew Fitzpatrick. He missed a scheduled tournament for the first time since returning past year from spinal fusion surgery, and said it was more to make sure a growing problem that started last month in Los Angeles did not get worse.

With his fused lower spine in a fixed position, Woods said the energy from his swing has to go either up to his neck or down to his hip or knee.

"A lot of players have won here, and it's been a wide array of players with regards to what they're type of play is, short, long, crooked, straight, good short game, not a good short game", he said.

Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith and Aaron Baddeley round out the Australian contingent at the 144-player tournament, which is being held in March for the first time since 2006. "I'm 43 with four back surgeries so let's manage what I have and understand that I'm going to have good weeks and bad weeks". I am going to have good weeks and bad weeks. As my neck got a little bit tighter, yeah, I didn't feel comfortable with my putting.

"Over the years, I pushed through a few (injuries) and won a few tournaments doing that, but I also cost myself a few years out here".

Woods admitted he was aware that he "faces challenges going forward" due to his physical state.

"I think it would fit", he said.

ROCCO MEDIATE: I can't wait for them to have a day where it's 45 degrees and blowing.

"That's the same with social media; that person who took a photo of me. was kind of creepy". On top of that, there are times I just can't do it. He's also a great weekend player, when the pressure is truly on, scoring under par in all third and fourth rounds in his last 10 Tour appearances. "I had to shut it down for the week and get ready for this week".

Woods was spotted alongside golf instructor Matt Killen on the putting green ahead of this week's Players Championship. I mean, you're on the green, or three inches to the left you're in the water. But I wanted him to take a look at it, and then he mentioned a few things. My finishes are getting a little bit better each and every time I've gone out so far this year, and I've gotten a little bit more consistent with my play. And we are not going to be playing by our own rules. "And I've putted well with different postures throughout my career".

"His neck issue, that's a serious issue I feel", Azinger said.

Woods is a two-time victor of the Players, which is being played in March for the first time since 2006-the last 12 editions were played in early May. You still need to drive it in the fairway, but I think it's in flawless condition and it definitely sets up better for me like this.

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