Rory McIlroy says Tiger Woods was receiving treatment for his neck before, during WGC-Mexico Championship

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Tiger Woods withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Monday, citing a neck issue as the reason for pulling out. “Unfortunately due to a neck strain that I’ve had for a few weeks, I’m forced to withdraw from the API,” Woods wrote. “I’ve 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.”

Though Woods has been notoriously cagey throughout his career about his health, his latest injury woe came as a surprise. Except to Rory McIlroy, who noted that Woods was dealing with the problem two weeks ago.

“I hope he’s OK,” Rory McIlroy told the Golf Channel on Tuesday at Bay Hill. “I saw him in Mexico [two weeks ago] getting treatment before and after he played and he did have some tape on sort of his upper back, so he was dealing with it back then as well.”

Woods had made no previous mention of his neck as of late, although he did pass on talking to the media twice in his last appearance at the WGC-Mexico Championship. The 14-time major winner did deal with a similar strain last year at the Open Championship, showing up for his first round with KT Tape on his neck. It proved not to be much of a hinderance at Carnoustie, as Woods flirted with the claret jug before ultimately finishing T-6.

Woods remains in the Players Championship field, which is next week. Woods has won the tour’s flagship event twice, the most recent victory coming in 2013.

As for McIlroy, he will look to continue his hot streak at Bay Hill, posting top-five finishes in his last four starts. McIlroy enters as the defending API champ.

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