Tiger Woods withdraws from Arnold Palmer Invitational

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Tiger Woods has withdrawn from the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a bad back. On his website Tiger said he called Palmer on Tuesday to give him the news.

"I personally called Arnold today to tell him that, sadly, I won't be able to play in his tournament this year. I would like to express my regrets to the Orlando fans, the volunteers, the tournament staff and the sponsors for having to miss the event."

The he addressed the big question.

"Unfortunately, my back spasms and the pain haven't subsided. It's too early to know about the Masters, and I will continue to be evaluated and work closely with my doctors. I feel badly that I won't be able to play in this great tournament this week."

This is the most concerning sign yet if you're a Tiger fan. For him to miss a few holes at the Honda Classic is one thing but for him to withdraw from a tournament he's won eight times is a completely other thing.

Permission to start worrying, granted.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that maybe all these injuries are actually a good thing for Woods -- a catalyst of sorts for him evolving once again, one final time into who he wants and who we want him to be.

Part of me wonders if the real catalyst will be him missing a major and not just a few tournaments he doesn't ultimately care about. Maybe what Woods needs most is to be kept from the place he least wants to be kept from -- Augusta.

But that's a different discussion for another time because maybe this mini-stretch of injury-plagued golf will help Woods in a different way.

I'm surprised Woods addressed the Masters with three weeks to go. It doesn't seem like he would miss that tournament unless he's on his death bed but I think this injury has affected him.

I think it's affected him physically -- which is bad -- and also mentally -- which could be good. 

Woods talked a couple of weeks ago about how at the 2008 US Open he wasn't affected by the pain until after he hit the ball. It was all a mental game. If Woods can get right physically (or sort of right) maybe this injury will create a hyper focus on things other than swing plane and shot shape.

Maybe he can get back to that hero mindset that's made him so elite for so many years. Remember how dialed in he was at Torrey Pines on that bum leg? I bet he didn't think about his swing once that week.

Or maybe I'm just flailing in the dark for positives in what has turned into a murky year for Woods.

For his sake, I hope I'm not.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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