This week’s PGA Tour stop, the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, is usually very popular among the biggest names in golf for three reasons: many of them live in the Orlando area, they like to pay their respects to Palmer and it’s often used as the final Masters tune-up for a lot of pros.
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However, three of golf’s biggest names, all of whom will are considered top Masters contenders, won’t be teeing it up this week, including Tiger Woods, Jason Day and Phil Mickelson.
Woods was a shocking scratch and because of it could lose his world No. 1 ranking. Tiger has had back troubles since withdrawing from the Honda Classic three weeks ago. He tried to play through it the following week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral but it flared up in the final round and he shot a birdie-free 78, his worst score ever on the course. It was the first time in Tiger’s career he didn’t have a birdie in the final round of a PGA Tour event.
Tiger would have been the betting favorite at Bay Hill because he has won the tournament a record eight times. He and Hall of Famer Sam Snead are the only players to win at the same course eight times. However, the back issue isn’t healed so Tiger had to withdraw. Thus if world No. 2 Adam Scott wins and neither he nor Woods plays before the Masters, which is expected, Scott will be the new No.1 when the Tour reaches Augusta. Scott is the second favorite at Bovada at 12/1.
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