Tiger Woods played a pain-free practice round in preparation of the PGA Championship, showing no signs of the back injury that had cast doubts on his ability to play at Valhalla.
At the same venue where Woods claimed the 2000 PGA Championship, he played the front nine alongside Davis Love, Harris English and Steve Stricker then walked the back nine, only practicing putts.
“I’m not in any pain. That is the good part,” said Woods. “I felt pretty good about how I played and the shots I hit.
“My range of motion was good. My firing sequence was back to normal. If my sequencing is good then it’s all good.”
Woods, who drew a huge crowd with every move after his playing status had been in doubt for the past two days, showed no trouble with driving distance after what looked like a typical practice session.
“I need to get more feel for how this golf course is playing,” he said. “It’s a totally different course than what I played in 2000. These greens are all different. There are some new things that we have to learn.”
Woods pulled out of Sunday’s final round of the World Golf Championships event in Akron, Ohio, with a back injury. He jarred his back on the second hole at Firestone Country Club and withdrew after wincing in pain following a tee shot at the ninth hole.
Woods, who underwent back surgery on March 31 to relieve a pinched nerve, said his problems on Sunday were unrelated to the operation.
“It’s not the site of the surgery. This is something totally different. I still need to build strength, continue to get stronger. Just going to take more time.”
Woods, 38, has struggled with various knee, leg and back injuries in recent years as his body breaks down under the strain of the long drives that were his trademark over a decade of golf dominance.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2014.
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