Tiger buzz builds as rivals see risk at PGA Championship

Woods performed the entrance 9 on Sunday and mentioned his surgically repaired proper leg – held along with pins, rods and screws – feels stronger than it did a month in the past.

Tiger Woods of the USA seems to be on from the ninth tee throughout a observe spherical previous to the Masters at Augusta Nationwide Golf Membership on 4 April 2022 in Augusta, Georgia. Image: Gregory Shamus/Getty Photographs/AFP

TULSA – Tiger Woods excited spectators and rivals alike with a back-nine observe spherical on Monday at Southern Hills, persevering with his comeback from extreme leg accidents earlier than this week’s PGA Championship.

Woods, whose unimaginable return finally month’s Masters got here solely 14 months after a rollover automobile crash, introduced an analogous buzz to the roars he created at Augusta Nationwide.

“Simply watching him on the Masters, that was unreal, simply the crowds and what it does to a match when he tees it up,” mentioned Norway’s Viktor Hovland. “Simply getting used to massive crowds, loud crowds.”

Woods performed the entrance 9 on Sunday and mentioned his surgically repaired proper leg – held along with pins, rods and screws – feels stronger than it did a month in the past.

“I am excited,” Woods instructed reporters Sunday. “I am not going to play that a lot going ahead, so anytime I do play, it will be enjoyable.”

Woods made the reduce on the Masters however battled by ache merely to stroll 72 holes and light to his worst-ever Augusta rounds of 78, the 15-time main winner calling the trouble to complete 4 rounds amongst his biggest feats.

The previous world primary, now ranked 818th, gained the 2007 PGA at Southern Hills, though the course underwent an $11 million revamp in 2018. If his physique has the energy and stamina to stroll 72 holes, his talent might make him a significant risk.

“If there’s ever a query if Tiger can contend, we will all simply form of chuckle at that. By no means is he going to be in a subject the place he cannot contend,” home-state hero Talor Gooch mentioned.

“He won’t have nearly as good of odds in some locations however I feel so long as he is within the subject, if he ever will get it slotted, regardless of how outdated he’s, it doesn’t matter what’s occurring, he is at all times going to have an opportunity.

“I imply, it is Tiger Woods.”

Woods, 46, seeks his sixteenth profession Grand Slam title, two shy of the file set by Jack Nicklaus, and a 73rd US PGA Tour triumph, which might break the all-time file he now shares with Sam Snead.

“When Tiger is within the subject… there’s only a totally different power,” Gooch mentioned. “Each time he is in the identical subject, you simply cherish it. Everyone knows what he is been by.”

DECHAMBEAU IS COMING

Bryson DeChambeau, the 2020 US Open winner who underwent left hand surgical procedure final month after lacking the reduce on the Masters, tweeted Monday he’ll observe the following two days and see about taking part in the occasion.

“On my solution to Southern Hills CC,” tweeted DeChambeau. “Going to check how I’m feeling over these subsequent couple days and resolve on whether or not to compete. Wanting ahead to being in Tulsa.”

Jordan Spieth will attempt to full a profession Grand Slam by successful the PGA after a second-place end in his hometown PGA occasion final weekend and a win final month on the Heritage, his sport in uncommon type.

Spieth captured the 2015 Masters and US Open and the 2017 British Open and makes his sixth try to affix an elite group to finish the sweep that features Woods, Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gary Participant and Gene Sarazen.

MICKELSON ABSENCE FELT

Phil Mickelson, who grew to become golf’s oldest main winner final yr when he gained the PGA at Kiawah Island at age 50, withdrew from the occasion on Friday. It is solely the fourth time prior to now half-century a significant winner is not going to defend his crown.

Mickelson has not performed since controversial feedback in regards to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf collection had been revealed in February, the six-time main winner calling the Saudis “scary” with a “horrible file on human rights.” He later apologized and mentioned he wanted a break from golf.

Mickelson’s absence was felt amongst fellow execs in Tulsa on Monday.

“I do know it has been a tough go the previous couple of months, a troublesome state of affairs to be in,” Mickelson’s former Ryder Cup taking part in accomplice Rickie Fowler mentioned. “It is unlucky that he did not really feel just like the place that he ought to be proper now’s right here.”

Hovland mentioned gamers wished to see the US left-hander return this week.

“It is a weird state of affairs, that is for certain,” Hovland mentioned. “It is not typically the defending main champion would not come again to defend.

“I feel all of us would have appreciated to have Phil right here and tee it up and see how he would have carried out. It is only a bizarre state of affairs.”

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