(Reuters) - Tiger Woods will skip next week's Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, leaving him with very little time to get his game sharp enough for the year's first major, the April 9-12 Masters.
The former world number one, who had back surgery last year, has played just two PGA Tour events this season and said last month he would not return to competition until he felt his game was "tournament-ready".
"I spoke to Arnold today and told him that I will not play in his tournament this year," Woods wrote on his website on Friday. "I'm sorry I won't be in Orlando next week, but I know it will be a really successful event.
"I've put in a lot of time and work on my game and I'm making strides, but like I've said, I won't return to the PGA Tour until my game is tournament ready and I can compete at the highest level.
"I hope to be ready for the Masters, and I will continue to work hard preparing for Augusta."
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Indian Wells, California; Editing by Gene Cherry)