Tiger To Bay Hill: From Questionable To Probable

Major development today in the Tiger Woods golf comeback drama: PGA Tour player Steve Stricker committed today to the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods

Stricker, who hasn’t played the tournament since 2005, is a longtime friend and teammate of Woods. One month before Woods’ Thanksgiving car accident, Stricker partnered with him at the President’s Cup - going 4-0 in the process.

But more important is Stricker’s connection to another member of Team Tiger. 

Stricker, who is currently the second-ranked player in the world, was college roommates with Woods agent Mark Steinberg. The agent, who also represents Stricker, has been with Woods since the golfer turned pro and if anyone knows when Woods will return, it’s Steinberg.

Add in the fact that of golf’s living legends, Arnold Palmer is closest to Woods yet hasn’t said a word about him since the Thanksgiving car accident. Not to mention that Bay Hill is right around the corner from the Woods home - which resides in a community Palmer himself founded.

Then there’s this from Arnold Palmer Invitational tournament director Scott Wellington to Randall Mell of the GolfChannel.com last month:

“He’s been here a number of years, and we gear up accordingly. This year being a unique situation, we have preliminary plans and a Plan B scenario that would affect certain areas of our operation, security and media being two that come to mind, and some other things we would have to do above and beyond what we normally do.”

Obviously this all doesn’t mean Woods is a lock for Bay Hill, but I’d certain qualify his return there as a distinct possibility.