By Ann Liguori
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UPDATE: Tiger Woods has arrived and has a practice round scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The 96TH PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club gets underway tomorrow, Thursday, and the only news pertaining to whether or not Tiger Woods will play is that he’s requested more time to register.
The PGA of America issued the following on Tuesday: “The deadline for registering for the 2014 PGA Championship was 5:00 p.m. (EDT) Tuesday, unless a player notified the PGA of America that he would be registering late. Any player who notified the PGA has up until his tee time in the opening round to register.”
So we may not know until he does — or doesn’t — show up for his 8:35 a.m. tee time on Thursday. He’s supposed to start on the 10th tee with Padraig Harrington and Phil Mickelson.
His presence, or lack thereof, is shrouded in mystery. He surely knows by now the status of his back but either it’s killing him to announce a decision to withdraw or he just doesn’t feel like addressing it until tee time. We know he really WANTS to play. He has fond memories here, having won the PGA Championship in 2000, beating Bob May in a playoff. In 2008, Tiger did not play on the U.S.-winning Ryder Cup team as he was recovering from knee surgery.
The question is: should he take the risk? He’s either wrestling with that question and wants to make a game-time decision, or he knows he won’t play but he just doesn’t feel like announcing it. Or perhaps the PGA of America has told him to keep it quiet so as not to affect ticket sales. Or he may make an announcement this afternoon.
I’m wondering, when it comes to Tiger’s health, who is helping him make these important decisions? His doctors? His trainer? His agent? Is he completely on his own when it comes to deciding whether he should play or shouldn’t?
Is he even listening to his doctor?
I certainly hope he has people around him who don’t “yes” him to death. He needs advisers who can be candid with him, tell him the truth, with no agenda, offering him the best possible advice for his overall well-being.
I would suggest that he stay home. Take the time to heal the reinjured back completely. Don’t take another chance at tweaking it and injuring it yet again. Even if your back feels better, rest it more. Be completely sure with doctor’s consent that the back is strong enough to withstand the jarring that the body takes when a golfer hits out of tough rough and from uneven lies or any kind of swing.
The rough at Valhalla Golf Club is brutal. There are certainly enough hills and bunkers where a ball can find its way into a tricky lie, setting up a possible repeat of the shot he hit at the Bridgestone Invitational on the par-five second hole, where he said he jarred his back, which eventually forced him to withdraw from the tournament during his final round on Sunday.
It has only been a little over four months since his surgery in March. Take the year off. Come back strong and fresh and at least confident that the back is strong enough to withstand the grind.
The scary part of all of this is that it may never be the same. But at least give it proper time to heal and cut down the risk of re-injury.
As difficult as it may be for Tiger to shut it down for the rest of the season, he may need to do just that.
At this point, with no Tiger on the premises, it doesn’t look good.
And with his recent form and a questionable back, he has not been able to prepare properly. And coming in for a major unprepared is so un-Tiger-like.
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