Woods Remains Optimistic at PGA Championship

by | May 16, 2024 | Pro News

Tiger Woods is different from most people because he has played at levels only a few have ever reached. But Woods is also like many 48-year-old men when it comes to his health.

“Despite the challenges my body presents, I’m holding up. It’s just the reality of the situation,’’ Woods shared at this week’s PGA Championship, set to kick off on May 16 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, KY.

Woods’ list of injuries and aches and pains have been well-chronicled over the past few years. It’s those injuries – including to his back and left ankle that have kept him from reaching Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships. Woods, who finished last among those who made the cut at the Masters this past April, will go for major No. 16 at Valhalla.

Does he have a chance to win? Most critics say no, but Woods is putting on the same optimistic front as he did at Augusta National Golf Club.

“I can still hit shots,’’. Woods said. “Getting around is more of the difficulty that I face day-to-day – and the recovery of pushing myself either in practice or in competition days. You saw it at Augusta. I was there after two days and didn’t do very well on the weekend.

“I wish my game was a little bit sharper. Again, I don’t have a lot of competitive reps, so I am having to rely on my practice sessions and getting stuff done either at home or here on-site. But at the end of the day, I need to be ready mentally and physically come Thursday, and these days of practicing, eating on the golf course, that’s one of the reasons I came up here on Sunday was to knock off some of the work that I have to do in charting greens, get all that stuff done early, so I can focus on literally playing and plodding my way around.’’

Woods, who tees off at 8:04 am EDT on Thursday alongside Adam Scott and Keegan Bradley,  comes into the week gunning for his fifth PGA Championship. He won back-to-back PGA Championships in 2006 (Medinah) and 2007 (Southern Hills). He also won in 2000 at Valhalla and 1999 at Medinah. Woods’ previous victory at Valhalla is best known for his duel with PGA Club Professional Bob May, who matched Woods shot-for-shot in the final round before losing in a playoff.

“Bob shot three straight 66s, and our back nine, we both shot 31 on the back nine. With leading a championship and both of us playing as well as we did, with all of that pressure, we kept feeding off of one another. He would make a putt, I would make a putt, I would make a putt, he would make a putt. It was a fun back nine.’’

Woods and May each finished with a 72-hole total of 18 under par before the three-hole playoff.

“That was the first year they went to the three-hole playoff,’’ Woods said. “When we got in at the scoring table, I remember that we were informed it was a three-hole playoff, and Bob was completely shocked by that because I don’t think that it really got out that much that potentially it could be that way, going back to 16, as I said, I made a nice putt there, ran after it. He made an unbelievable chip from the right rough and almost holed it. Again, we never really missed shots on that back nine and then in the three-hole playoff. For us to shoot those low of scores, it was special.’’


About the Author

<a href="https://golfonemedia.com/author/steve_pike/" target="_self">Steve Pike</a>

Steve Pike

Steve “Spike” Pike is a lifelong journalist whose career covers Major League Baseball, the NFL, and college basketball. For the past 26 years, Spike has been one of the more respected voices in the golf and travel industries, working for such publications as Golfweek, Golf World, and Golf Digest for The New York Times Magazine Group. In 1998, Spike helped launch the PGA.com website for the PGA of America. As a freelance travel and golf writer, Spike’s travels have taken him around the world. He has played golf from Pebble Beach to St. Andrews, walked the Great Wall of China, climbed an active volcano in the Canary Islands, been on safari in South Africa, and dived with sharks off Guadalupe, Baja California.