Tiger Woods says he'll be ready

Updated: March 15, 2012, 11:03 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

Tiger Woods says his strained Achilles tendon is feeling better and he's ready to prepare for next week's Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, his final start before the Masters.

Woods withdrew Sunday from the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral because of tightness and pain in his left Achilles, raising questions that he might miss the Masters. He sat out nearly four months last summer because of Achilles and knee issues.

"The leg's good now," Woods said Thursday on "The Scott Van Pelt Show" on ESPN Radio.

"I took a couple of days off, got some treatment on it. I got the go-ahead to start hitting balls [Friday] and start ramping up and get ready for Bay Hill."

Woods said he started noticing some discomfort on Sunday when he was warming up on the driving range. He said the pain shot into his calf, and he had difficulty getting loose.

"I've been down this road before, it's not a fun road, but this time I decided to do the prudent thing and not hurt it like I did the last time,'' Woods told "The Scott Van Pelt Show."

The "last time" for Woods was last year's Players Championship, where he returned after initially injuring his Achilles and left knee at the Masters about a month earlier.

Woods made it through just nine holes, withdrawing after a 42 on the front nine. He went on to miss the U.S. Open and British Open and did not return to competitive golf until August.

"I have to be smart and look at the big picture," Woods said Thursday. "The Masters is coming up. Last year, I was not prudent about pulling out when I should have and I missed two major championships."

Woods was taking part in a previously planned promotional tour for EA Sports. Earlier in the day, he said on ABC's "Good Morning America" of the Masters: "I'll be there, don't worry about it."

He also told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi he plans to play in the Tavistock Cup club tournament at Lake Nona on Monday and Tuesday, as well as the Arnold Palmer and the Masters.

Of his expectations for the Masters, he said, "I intend to be there. [I'll] give everything I possibly have to win the golf tournament. That's the whole idea."

Woods has not won an official tournament since late 2009 and the last of his 14 major titles came at the 2008 U.S. Open. He was making solid strides in his comeback from last year's injuries. He ended 2011 finishing third at the Australian Open and winning the Chevron World Challenge, which is not an official Tour event.

This year, he started with a third-place tie in Abu Dhabi, followed by a tie for 15th at Pebble Beach and a second-round defeat at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. He tied for second at the Honda Classic, where he shot a career final-round best 62, and was in the top 20 at Doral before Sunday's withdrawal.

Woods told Rinaldi he "feels very good" and is excited about his chances at the Masters.

"I'm playing well. All my stats are very good this year. Compared to last year and in years past, I haven't had stats like this in a long time," he said.

"It's just a matter of making the key up-and-down here and there and making one putt here and there. All of a sudden ... I've had a chance to win a couple of times this year."

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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