By Steve Elling
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- With these two in the field, it won’t matter much that many of the top internationals aren't heading to Orlando in two weeks.
Tiger Woods announced Monday that he will play at the Arnold Palmer Invitational later this month, joining another popular past champion, Phil Mickelson, in the event hosted by the legendary golfer and tournament namesake.
Woods has titles at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2009. He was T24 last year and won the first of his three consecutive U.S. Junior titles there.
It's a busy stretch for the former world No. 1, now ranked 16th globally. He will have played four times in six weeks by the end of the Masters in April.
Mickelson posted on his website last week that he was playing at Bay Hill, where he won in 1997. The tournament starts March 22.
Though it won't be formally announced until Wednesday, Woods will play in Orlando's Tavistock Cup on March 19-20 at Lake Nona, representing the six-man team from Albany, a course in the Bahamas. There are four six-man teams in the event and the full rosters will be released Wednesday.
Rory McIlroy, the newly minted world No. 1, is taking three weeks off after competing this week at the Cadillac Championship outside Miami, where Woods and Mickelson also are entered. Several other top international players instead are playing the week after Bay Hill, in Houston, as a tune-up to the Masters, including Lee Westwood.
Woods and Mickelson were paired in the final round at Pebble Beach last month, where Mickelson shot 64 to come from six strokes back to win.