While his appearance at Bay Hill was expected it does come as a surprise Wooods has entered next Thursday’s starting Valspar Championhip being staged on the Copperhead course at the Innsbrook Resort near Naples on Florida’s west coast.
It means Woods will now join Rory McIlroy who will also be contesting the Valspar Championship for a first time and in what will be McIlroy’s sixth event ahead of the Masters.
The Valspar boasts the famed ‘Snakepit’ – the closing three holes of the Copperhead course and it was the venue where Jordan Spieth won in 2015 and then went on in the following months to win both the Masters and U.S. Open titles.
In contrast, Woods is certainly no stranger to the Bayhill course in suburban Orlando having won eight Arnold Palmer Invitational”s including four in succession from 2000.
Though it will also be Woods first appearance in ‘Arnie’s event’ since winning for an eighth time in 2013.
Woods tweeted his intentions saying simply: “After a good recovery week I’m committing to play in the @ValsparChamp and @APinv next two weeks.
The now 42-year old Woods has contested three events since returning to full-time competition finishing T23rd at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, missing the cut at the Genesis Open and then sharing 12th place last week at the Honda Classic.
However as Woods has not qualified for this current week’s WGC – Mexico Championship or the March 15th WGC – Dell Technology Match-Play Championship in Austin, Texas it has limited where he can play hence entering the Valspar.
“I need to keep building on it,” said Woods last week to reporters at ther Honda Classic.
“It means keep building my body, keep building towards April. That was the goal when I first came back.
“I told you guys at Torrey, (I’ll) try and get everything situated for April and I feel like I’m right on track for that.”
Woods’ appearance now at both the Valspar and Bay Hill is sure to send spectator numbers soaring as was the case in all three events he’s contested this year on the PGA Tour.
And given his superb showing last week at PGA National who would bet against Woods winning an 80th PGA Tour event ahead of returing to Augusta National for a first occasion since finishing T17th in 2015.
“I feel like I’ve really hit the ball well,” Woods said after the Honda Classic.
“I missed the golf ball in the correct spots and I had control of my ball.
“That’s something I’m very proud of. Each and every time I’ve come out to tournaments, I’m getting the feel of the round faster. The more I play tournament golf, the better I’ll get at it.”