ORLANDO, Fla. — Tiger Woods, the biggest drawing card on the PGA Tour, is skipping the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which will be played in Orlando's Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge March 5-8.
The tournament will feature world No. 1 and past champion Rory McIlroy and No. 3 Brooks Koepka. It will give Koepka, an FSU alum, a chance to rebound after failing to make the cut Friday at the Honda Classic.
The Orlando field also will feature Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson, who will be playing at Bay Hill Club and Lodge for the second straight year after failing to appear in the event since 2013. The 49-year-old Mickelson, who counts the 1997 API among his 44 wins on the PGA Tour, will be seeking his first victory on Tour since last February at Pebble Beach.
This will be the fifth straight Arnold Palmer Invitational appearance for McIlroy, the tournament's 2018 winner. Named the PGA Tour Player of the Year in 2019, McIlroy recently regained the top spot in the world rankings.
Defending champion Francesco Molinari and fan favorite Rickie Fowler also have committed to play in the event.
Other big names in the field include world No. 7 Adam Scott — a winner this past week at Riviera — No. 10 Xander Schauffele, No. 11 Tommy Fleetwood, No. 16 Bryson DeChambeau and No. 20 Marc Leishman, who is serving as a tournament ambassador this year. Orlando resident Graeme McDowell, a recent winner on the European Tour, and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson also will tee it up at Bay Hill for the 42nd edition of the tournament bearing the name of one of the game's legends.
Woods' incredible success at the API and immense popularity made his past participation a boon for tournament organizers and PGA Tour TV partners. Woods' sudden withdrawal from last year's tournament due to a neck injury was a major blow to the event after he had inspired record crowds and TV ratings in 2018.
Woods did not play during last week's World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship and is skipping this weekend's Honda Classic.
The retooled Florida Swing, condensed major championships schedule and Woods' focus on being rested and ready for the game's biggest events have forced him make difficult scheduling decisions and put some tournaments he normally plays in jeopardy of not making his cut.
This year's Arnold Palmer Invitational will feature a $9.3 million pursue, one of the game's richest and award the winner a three-year exemption on the PGA Tour.