After Tiger Woods pulled out of the final round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational last weekend due to a back injury, speculation immediately turned to his status for the PGA Championship.
Victorious four times in the tour’s last major of the year, Woods arrived at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, early Wednesday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, reports showed the 38-year-old champion’s parking spot at the course was empty, and on Tuesday his caddie Joe LaCava arrived at Valhalla unsure if his boss would even play. Reporters were camped out near Woods spot, hoping to catch him when or if he arrived.
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"I'm optimistic," LaCava said to CBS Sports. "I'm hoping he plays. So I'm just doing whatever work I would normally do.
"He's tough," LaCava said. "Tough and stubborn would be two good words."
Shortly after he arrived, Woods hit the practice range.
Tiger Woods on practice range at Valhalla for PGA Championship. pic.twitter.com/stAUG02Fih
â€” K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) August 6, 2014
However Woods’s presence at the course does not guarantee he will play this weekend. How well he feels following the practice round, which began at 2 p.m. EST., will likely be the deciding factor. This could be the third major Woods has sat out this year, following absences at the U.S. Open and Masters, and his disappointing tie for 69th at the British Open last month.
Woods last won the PGA Championship back in 2007, when he shot eight-under par, including an incredible 63 in the second round, besting fellow American Woody Austin by two strokes.
Other than his win at the U.S. Open in 2008, Woods has since failed to add to his career 14-major tally. After tinkering with his swing, Woods has also suffered back and knee injuries. Woods’s latest back injury occurred on the second hole of the Bridgestone Sunday. He hit an awkward chip shot between the rough and sand trap and immediately winced in pain.
Despite the injury and his status for the tournament unclear, Bodog pegs Woods’s odds of winning the PGA title at 7/1, better than Rory McIlory at 9/1 and Aussie Adam Scott at 12/1.