After missing a lot of games due to his back injury, Tiger Woods is not wasting any time. The 42-year-old committed to play in the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida and the Arnold Palmer International in a back-to-back week. The former No. 1 finished 12th place at the Honda Classic.
After his spinal fusion surgery in April last year, Woods already played in three tournaments, which he considered crucial steps to getting back to form. The good thing for him is that he’s not suffering any setback in the recovery process.
“I’ve been away from tournament golf for so long that I’m starting to feel the rounds,” Woods had said. “I’m starting to get into it quicker, feel the pace, feel the shots and get a better sense of it. The more I play tournament golf, the better I’ll get.”
Woods will use his time in Valspar and Arnold Palmer to prepare for the Masters.
While the 14-time major champ will benefit from tournament play as he rounds up to form, the golfing circuit also benefits from his appearance in terms of marketing promotion and ticket sales. Valspar, which is a non-tournament contest, will especially get the windfall of his participation.
Hollis Cavner, Pro Link Sports executive director, called the days leading to the event in Valspar as “Tiger mode.” Pro Link Sports manages the Valspar tournament.
“Everything changes when he comes,” Hollis said. “We’ll have to beef up security, increase busing, concessions. Now it’s a whole different game. That’s the effect he has.”
But Woods is not the only high-profile player who’s going to be there. Jordan Spieth already committed to play along with Rory McIlroy.
He said the presence of those stars in the event transformed Valspar into “one of the Tour’s marquee events” from “almost gone a few years ago.” “It really means a lot,” the executive director said.