Tiger Woods flew to Oklahoma on Thursday for a practice round at Southern Hills, the first step in deciding whether he can play in the PGA Championship.
The 18-hole practice round while walking came three weeks before the start of the PGA Championship being held May 19-22 at Southern Hills in Tulsa.
Golf Channel reported that Southern Hills head pro Cary Cozby caddied for Woods on Thursday. After the practice round, the PGA of America posted a photo on Twitter of Woods and Cozby looking at the yardage book.
Tulsa TV station KOTV showed an overhead shot of Woods putting. He was wearing a black compression sleeve on his right leg. Ken MacLeod, publisher of “Golf Oklahoma” magazine was at Southern Hills and one photo he posted show 10 members of the Oklahoma PGA Junior League who were being honored gathered on the 18th green as Woods teed off on No. 10.
Woods made a remarkable return to golf at the Masters following his Feb. 23, 2021, car crash outside Los Angeles that shattered bones in his right leg and ankle. In his first time competing and walking a course, he made the cut for the 22nd straight time, though he tired on the weekend and his limp was more noticeable in rounds when he shot 78-78. He finished in 47th place out of the 52 players who made the cut.
Southern Hills last hosted a major in 2007, when Woods won the PGA Championship for the second straight year and fourth time overall. That week featured his lowest score in a major, a 63 in the second round with a birdie putt that spun in and out of the cup on the final hole.
Woods left Augusta National unsure of when he would play next, although he confirmed he would be at the British Open at St. Andrews this summer.
He has entered the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open at Brookline in June, though that was a formality as an exempt player.
Woods’ movement was picked up by internet sites tracking his private plane from South Florida to Tulsa, Oklahoma, along with a photo on Twitter showing the plane on the tarmac.
It didn’t generate the same buzz as when he went to Augusta National a week before the Masters, uncertain then if he would play the first major of the year.
Southern Hills is not as strenuous a walk as Augusta National, except for the steep decline walking off the first and 10th tees and the inevitable uphill climb back toward the clubhouse, with only slight elevation along the way.
While tired after the Masters, Woods could only see himself getting better.
“I don’t quite have the endurance that I would like to have had, but as of a few weeks ago, didn’t even know if I was going to play in this event,” he said after final round at Augusta National.
“To go from that to here, we’re excited about the prospects of the future, about training, about getting into that gym and doing some other stuff to get my leg stronger, which we haven’t been able to do because it needed more time to heal.”
Similar to the Masters, Woods likely won’t decide whether to play the PGA Championship until that week.
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