In golf world, Tiger Woods casting a shadow larger than ever

Screenshot at Feb 26

It was another strong signal about the health of his surgically fused lower back, giving him four tournaments in five weeks. Tiger Woods is adding another tournament as he tries to get his game ready for the Masters.

It will be the first time Woods has played the Valspar tournament and his first competitive event at Innisbrook resort's Copperhead course since his early pro days at a 1996 two-player event pairing PGA and LPGA talent.

Woods' body is strong and his golf generally has been solid during three starts this season.

He was, however, widely expected to be at Bay Hill for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he claimed eight of his 79 Tour victories.

"I think that I need to get back in the gym again and start training", said Woods after a 12th-place finish at PGA National last week.

Woods' announcement, made Friday on his Twitter account, is the latest sign the 42-year-old latest return from injury is progressing better than many of his previous attempts. Last week's rating for the Honda Classic were the highest since 2013, the past year Woods reached No. 1 in the world rankings and won five times. He also played the Genesis Open and Honda Classic in consecutive weeks in February.

Last week's performance by Woods was so encouraging that his odds to win the 5-8 April Masters dropped to 16-1, according to Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. That was the goal when I first came back.

The World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play event is held the week following the Arnold Palmer Invitational but Woods is not eligible as it consists of the world's top 64 players as of March 11. Along with Woods, players who also have entered include Rory McIlroy for the first time, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson.

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