Tiger appears ready to give it a go at Players

ORLANDO, Fla. -- After missing this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational with a neck strain, it appears Tiger Woods will try to compete at the Players Championship later this week.

The PGA Tour said Sunday that a news conference has been scheduled for Tuesday morning following a nine-hole practice round at TPC-Sawgrass. Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, did not respond to a request for comment about his client's status.

But the PGA Tour announced featured groups for the tournament Sunday and has Woods listed as playing with defending champion Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed for the first two rounds.

Woods, 43, withdrew from the Arnold Palmer, a tournament he has won eight times, on Monday, citing a neck strain for which he had "been receiving treatment, but it hasn't improved enough to play. My lower back is fine, and I have no long-term concerns, and I hope to be ready for the Players.''

In three tournament starts this year, Woods tied for 20th at the Farmers Insurance Open, tied for 15th at the Genesis Open and tied for 10th at the WGC-Mexico Championship. The latter two tournaments were back to back.

He was scheduled to play the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players in consecutive weeks.

Last year, he tied for fifth at Bay Hill and tied for 11th at the Players when it was contested in May. He has not announced any other events on his schedule, although if healthy, Woods is expected to play either the Valspar Championship in two weeks or the WGC-Dell Match Play the following week as a last tune-up for the Masters, which begins on April 11.

After spinal fusion surgery in April 2017, Woods returned to competition in December and did not miss a tournament because of injury in 2018, playing 18 official events, including a victory at the Tour Championship.