The four-time Masters champion has an ailing back. It's reached the point that he's planning surgery after the Masters.

Tiger Woods? No, that would be Arnold Palmer.

"The doctors have seen things that they think they might be able to do something about," Palmer, 84, said Wednesday at Bay Hill.

Palmer can't speak for Woods, who is unable to defend his title this week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

A year ago at Bay Hill, all the talk was that Woods was back. He won Bay Hill to return to No. 1 in the world.

Now all the talk is about Woods' back.

He withdrew with five holes to play in the Honda Classic. His back bothered him the next week at Doral, and then flared up on Sunday as Woods posted a 78. After a week off, the lower back pain was persistent enough that Woods called the tournament host to tell him he couldn't defend his title in Orlando, Fla.

"He didn't tell me how bad his back is. I don't think he knows how bad his back is," Palmer said. "He's listening to the doctors. And he mentioned that they're saying that he needs to give it a bit of a rest and see if he can work it out."

With the Masters just three weeks away, the Bay Hill field isn't as strong as usual, starting with the absence of No. 1 Woods, an eight-time winner of this event. Jason Day (No. 4 in the world) pulled out with recurring pain in his thumb, and Phil Mickelson (No. 5) isn't playing this year.

  • Palmer believes age will be an issue as the 38-year-old Woods tries to break the Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 professional majors. Nicklaus won four majors after turning 38. Woods reached his 14th major when he was 32 but hasn't won another since that 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

    "I don't think 38 years is the ultimate stopping point for his quest to do what Jack did," Palmer said. "I think it lessens the possibility of that happening."

  • Mickelson decided to play the Texas Open next week in San Antonio. That means the three-time Masters champion will play both Texas events before arriving at Augusta National. He hasn't played the Texas Open since 1992. He previously has said he'd play the Houston Open.

  • Paula Creamer has had 2½ weeks to savor "The Putt" in her Singapore playoff win. "It was nice to have two weeks off after that and just truly enjoy it," the Pleasanton native said after completing preparations for Thursday's first round of the JTBC Founders Cup in Phoenix.

    In Singapore, she made a breaking, downhill 75-foot eagle putt on the second extra hole to beat Azahara Munoz in the HSBC Women's Champions. "That's just pure genuine, 'Oh, holy smokes, it just went in the hole,' " said Creamer, who hadn't won since the 2010 U.S. Women's Open.

  • Juli Inkster chose Pat Hurst to be her assistant captain at the Solheim Cup next year in Germany. Both went to San Jose State -- just not at the same time. "She actually went to San Jose State on the 'Juli Inkster scholarship.' " Inkster said.