Tiger Woods produced a few firsts Saturday, neither trigger for a fist pump. He posted his highest rating ever within the PGA Championship, and later withdrew from a significant for the primary time in his professional profession.
Hours after Woods limped his option to a 9-over 79 within the third spherical at Southern Hills, he knowledgeable the PGA of America of his withdrawal.
Anybody who watched the staggered steps from a proper leg that was battered 15 months in the past in a automobile crash mustn’t have been shocked. Woods declined media interviews after his spherical, talking solely to a pool reporter.
He was requested if days like this — excessive ache, excessive rating — made him query the method it takes to play and if he would tee it up on Sunday.
“Effectively, I am sore. I do know that’s for a reality,” he stated. “We’ll do some work and see the way it goes.”
The PGA of America introduced his withdrawal after the third spherical ended. Woods was 21 photographs behind Mito Pereira of Chile, who takes a three-shot lead into the ultimate spherical.
For Woods, consideration now turns to subsequent month on the U.S. Open. When he made the reduce on the Masters in his first time strolling and competing in opposition to the most effective for the reason that February 2021 automobile crash in Los Angeles, he stated he could be on the British Open at St. Andrews in July.
He didn’t point out the PGA Championship or U.S. Open, eager to assess his restoration. However he made a visit to Southern Hills within the weeks forward of the PGA and stated he felt higher than he did at t.
That lasted solely so lengthy.
Whilst he grimaced at instances, Woods produced his most compelling golf on Friday afternoon with he rallied to make the reduce with a sequence of clutch putts and short-game wizardry.
Woods has performed by way of ache throughout his profession, extra memorably the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines that he received with a double stress fracture in his left leg and shredded ligaments in his left knee that required season-ending surgical procedure when it was over.
However on Saturday, strolling gingerly on a course soaked by a half-inch of rain within the early morning, he had cause to surprise if making the reduce was value it.
“I did not do something proper,” Woods stated after making a 5-foot par putt on the 18th to interrupt 80. “I did not hit many good photographs. Consequently, I ended up with a reasonably excessive rating.”
It wasn’t his worst in a significant. There was that 81 within the 2002 British Open within the raging wind and bitter chilly of Muirfield that ended his hopes for a Grand Slam. He had an 80 at Chambers Bay within the 2015 U.S. Open whereas recovering from the primary of what could be 5 again surgical procedures.
This was painful to observe, and never simply the sloppy play with wedges and two water balls.
Very like the weekend on the Masters, his first competitors for the reason that February 2021 automobile crash that mangled his proper leg, the limp grew to become extra pronounced because the day went on.
And the climate — the excessive 50s, in contrast with a warmth index that approached triple digits earlier within the week — did not assist.
“You are feeling so sorry for him having to undergo this,” stated Shaun Norris, the South African who performed with Woods earlier than a big gallery, however actually not the scale of the earlier two days.
“However then once more, you additionally see the kind of individual that he’s, that he grinds by way of every thing and pushes himself, even all of the ache and that,” Norris stated. “It isn’t simple to see a man like him should undergo that and battle like that. He is swinging it properly, and I feel he’ll be again as soon as he will get again to regular well being and types out all the issues.”
Woods selected to not communicate to the media, as a substitute providing a couple of ideas to a pool reporter. He did not get into one of many clear issues, which was distance management. Whether or not the ball wasn’t flying as far due to the chilly or his pace was slower than he realized, there have been two events when Woods was shocked to see the place his ball landed.
One was on the par-3 sixth gap, when Woods’ shot not solely got here up brief, it discovered the water. He put his subsequent shot brief into the shaggy collar, flubbed a chip and walked off with a triple bogey.
And that was solely the beginning.
Woods made 5 straight bogeys from the ninth gap. One in every of them was on the par-3 eleventh, when he posed over an 8-iron solely to see it land brief — effectively brief. He appeared again at his caddie and stated, “That is in need of the bunker!”
His pitch up the hill had a lot tempo that it ran over the inexperienced and down the slope, and he needed to make a 4-footer to flee with bogey. This was one gap after an analogous pitch up the hill from barely farther away settled on the highest shelf of a inexperienced. The pin was on the entrance.
After which on the par-5 thirteenth, when a daring play to go over the inexperienced from the primary reduce of tough and right into a stiff wind seemed to be repay, his pitch from 100 toes went 35 toes previous the pin and off the inexperienced. A possible birdie become a bogey.
“Could not get off the bogey prepare,” he stated.
Even when it appeared like a misplaced trigger, and there have been moments the place it appeared as if his proper knee started to buckle, Woods not often rushed a shot or a putt.
The lone vibrant spot was a 35-foot birdie putt on the fifteenth, and Woods compelled a smile as he swiped his proper index finger within the air to mark his first birdie of the day.
It additionally was his just one.
He talked Friday about needing a sizzling spherical, and that wasn’t obtainable to him on a chilly day. He in the end determined it wasn’t value going by way of once more.
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