Woods & # 039; on schedule & # 039; for Masters in April despite neck injury

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Tiger Woods has so far participated in three tournaments of this season

Tiger Woods says he expected to play on the Masters in April, despite withdrawal from the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week with a neck tribe.

Woods, who is playing this week's Players Championship in Sawgrass, says that the neck problem is related to his spinal fusion operation in April 2017 and is an issue he needs to "manage".

"It is not painful now," said Woods.

The 43-year-old is aiming for his 15th major title in Augusta, when the Masters begins on April 11.

"It started to get so far that it affected my set – up, my backswing, it was gradually getting worse, and that's just because my lower back has melted," Woods adds.

"It's about trying to manage what I have. I'm 43 with four back operations, so let's manage what I have and understand that I will have good weeks and bad weeks."

The American ranks eleventh in the world, having recovered from number 1,199 following spinal fusion surgery – the last of multiple operations.

Woods won his 80th PGA title and his first five years when he closed the season ending the Tour Championship in September 2018.

He completed three tournaments in 2019, finishing 20th (Farmers Insurance Open), 15th (Genesis Open) and 10th (WGC-Mexico Championship).

ex-world number one said: "I've played three tournaments so far and that's about right. I'm on my way to where I need to be.

" I think everything is on the right track towards April.

"My finish is getting a little better, I've gotten more consistent.

" I have to stay fit and it's about managing it as well as possible and not pushing. "

Francesco Molinari won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and finished with two shots from Matthew Fitzpatrick from England

Woods had won the tournament eight times before.

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