Tiger Woods made a pair first on Saturday, no reason for a fist pump. He published his the highest score ever in the PGA Championship and later retired as a major for the first time in his professional career.
Hours after Woods limped to a 9-over 79 in the third round at South Hills, he informed PGA America of his withdrawal.
Anyone who watched the chess steps of his right foot, broken 15 months ago in a car accident, should not have been surprised. After his tour, Woods declined a media interview, speaking only to a pool reporter.
He was asked if he was forced to question the process required to play and whether he would play on Sunday.
“Well, it hurts me. I know it is true, ”he said. “We’ll work and see how it goes.”
PGA of America announced its exit after the third round. Woods lags behind Chilean Mitt Pereira by 21 throws, leading by three strokes in the final round.
For Woods, attention is now drawn to next month’s US Open. When he first went to the Masters, going and competing with the best after the car crash in February 2021 in Los Angeles, he said he would be at the British Open in St. Andrews in July.
He did not mention the PGA Championship or the US Open, wanting to assess his recovery. But he made the trip to Southern Hills a few weeks before the PGA and said he felt better than in the is a Master.
It only lasted that long.
Even though he sometimes grimaces, Woods did his most convincing golf on Friday afternoon when he rallied to make a cut through a series of clutch strokes and magic short gameplay.
During his career, Woods played through pain, more memorable was the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, which he won with a double stress fracture of his left leg and torn ligaments in his left knee, which required surgery at the end of the season when it ended.
But on Saturday, walking early in the morning on a path soaked in half an inch of rain, he had reason to wonder whether it was worth making a cut.
“I didn’t do anything right,” Woods said after the 18th made a 5-foot push to smash the 80. “I didn’t make many good shots. As a result, I got a pretty high score. “
It wasn’t his worst specialty. There was that 81 at the British Open in 2002 in the fierce wind and fierce frost of Murfield, which dashed his hopes for the Grand Slam. He had 80 points at Chambers Bay at the 2015 U.S. Open during his recovery from the first of five back surgeries.
It was painful to watch, not just a sloppy game with wedges and two water balls.
Just like the weekend at the Masters, his first competition since a car crash in February 2021 that injured his right leg, limping became more pronounced over the course of the day.
And the weather – the high 50s compared to the heat index, which at the beginning of the week approached three-digit numbers – did not help.
“You’re so sorry he had to go through that,” said Sean Norris, a South African who played with Woods in front of a large gallery, but certainly not like the previous two days.
“But then again, you also see what kind of person he is, that he rubs everything and pushes himself, even all the pain and that,” Norris said. “It’s not easy to see a guy like him have to go through this and fight like that. He’s holding it well and I think he’ll come back as soon as he gets back to normal health and deals with all the problems.”
Woods decided not to talk to the media, instead offering a few thoughts to the pool reporter. He did not get into one of the obvious problems – distance control. Whether the ball didn’t fly that far because of the cold, or its speed was less than he realized, there were two instances where Woods was stunned to see where his ball landed.
One was on the sixth hole of Par-3 when Woods ’shot not only proved short but also found water. The next shot he hit the shaggy collar, waved the chip and left with a triple bullet.
And that was just the beginning.
Woods made five straight scarecrows from the ninth hole. One of them was on par-3 11th when he posed over 8-iron just to see how he landed nearby. He looked back at his caddy and said, “That’s a little bunker!”
His step up the hill was so high that he ran across the green and down the slope and he had to walk 4 feet to escape with a whip. It was one hole after a similar step up the hill, a little further, settled on the top shelf of a green field. The hairpin was in front.
And then on par-5 13th, when a daring game to drive through the green from the first cut and in a strong wind seemed to pay off, his step from 100 feet passed 35 feet past the skittles and came out of the green. The probable bird turned into a stuffed animal.
“Couldn’t get off the whip train,” he said.
Even though it looked like a lost cause, and there were times when it seemed like his right knee was starting to bend, Woods rarely threw a punch or punch.
The only bright spot was the 35-foot bird of the 15th, and Woods made him smile by swiping the index finger of his right hand in the air to mark his first bird of the day.
It was also his only one.
On Friday, he spoke of the need for a hot round, and on a cold day it was not available to him. In the end, he decided not to worry again.