LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Barely able to tie his shoes three days ago, Tiger Woods is ready to tee it up in the PGA Championship.
Woods caused the biggest sensation of the week Wednesday afternoon simply by driving his silver SUV into the parking lot at Valhalla. He has never arrived so late for a major championship and had so little time to prepare — just nine holes at Valhalla, which he had not seen since winning the PGA Championship in 2000.
But at least he’s playing.
That much was in doubt Sunday when he withdrew from the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational because of back pain that made it a chore to switch out of his golf shoes. Woods said he suffered a pinched nerve, but that it was not at all related to back surgery he had March 31 that kept him out of golf for three months.
He said his trainer adjusted the area above the sacrum.
“Once he put it back in, the spasms went away,” he said. “And from there, I started getting some range of motion.”
The latest injury occurred when Woods tried to play a shot from just above a deep bunker on the second hole at Firestone, and his momentum caused him to land hard in the sand. He kept playing, and hit some horrific shots before deciding to withdraw after a tee shot on the ninth hole.
That was only his third tournament since his return from surgery, leading to concern that he might be done for the year.
His arrival put some life into what had been an ordinary week. Dozens of cameras captured Woods putting on his shoes with ease at his car. He got a big cheer just walking onto the practice range and the crowd was six-deep down the first hole, about like it was for the Ryder Cup at Valhalla six years ago.
Fulton native Aaron Krueger will also participate in the final major of the season.