LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tiger Woods finally arrived at Valhalla on Wednesday, after three days of speculation about whether his ailing back would allow him to compete in the final major of the year.
And even that was still to be determined.
The PGA of America sent out a release that Woods had arrived. It was believed he would try to play a practice round to see if his back was fit enough to play in the PGA Championship. Woods has never missed three majors in one year since he played his first one as a 19-year-old amateur in 1995.
He had back surgery on March 31 and missed three months of the season, including two majors. Woods returned in late June for the Quicken Loans National at Congressional, where he missed the cut by four shots. He finished 69th at the British Open. But at the Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday, Woods injured his lower back on the second hole of the final round after hitting an awkward shot from above a bunker and landing hard when he jumped back into the sand.
He was driven off the course after his tee shot on the ninth hole and headed home to Florida for treatment.
This is the latest Woods has ever arrived for a major. He has not seen Valhalla since he won the PGA Championship in 2000 in a playoff over Bob May. Woods was recovering from reconstructive knee surgery in 2008 when the Ryder Cup was played on the Jack Nicklaus design.
His absence has led to endless photos of his vacant parking spot.
“He still has a huge impact, especially on the media side,” Rickie Fowler said. “You can see all the attention with last week WD’ing and this week not registering, not sure if he’s playing yet. I want to see Tiger around, but I want to see him healthy and at his best.”
Check out some photos below (via Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports).