Tiger Woods' dream of making The Open in July looks a long shot

Is this finally the end? Tiger Woods’ dream of making The Open in July looks a long shot after he withdrew from PGA Championship in agony

  • Tiger Woods withdraws in agony after shooting 79 on difficult Saturday
  • His future is even more uncertain after he appeared to struggle from Thursday
  • Pain was wracked across the golf great’s face for three torment-filled days 

A week at the PGA Championship that began with words of optimism ended on Saturday with the future of Tiger Woods uncertain once more.

Six days on from talking confidently about how his right leg was getting stronger all the time, he took the decision to end the physical agony one round short of the finish line. It was the first time in his professional career that he had taken the decision to quit during a major.

More even than the pain wracked on his face for three torment-filled days, the unprecedented action to remain seated on his stool and not come out for the final round told you everything you needed to know. This man never quits. Tiger is in trouble and that cherished dream of his to make it to the 150th Open at St Andrews in July now comes with a big question mark.

The former PGA Champion said his body can no longer manage the full tournament schedule

What a contrast to the Masters at Augusta in April, where he had been able to handle the considerable discomfort over 72 holes to the extent that he made his vow by the side of the 18th green on Sunday to make it to Scotland.

Five weeks on, he arrived in Tulsa and was striking the ball beautifully in practice at the start of the week. ‘He’s swinging with a lot more freedom than he was at Augusta,’ confirmed his delighted caddie, Joe LaCava. There was even talk that he could be a contender, at the venue where he won the PGA in 2007.

Everything had changed by the time the tournament began on Thursday. Something had clearly gone wrong with that right leg, the one he feared he might lose in the horrific days that followed his fateful car accident in Los Angeles 15 months ago.

Woods’ score of 79 in the third round was his worst ever total at the PGA Championships

Filled as it now is with rods and pins, the awkward movements necessary to complete a golf swing had evidently caused something to break down in the area around the ankle. From Thursday morning, his gait looked more awkward than it had in Georgia.

By Friday, 46-year-old Tiger was finding it next to impossible to transfer his weight during the swing. It was a herculean effort to end the afternoon by making the cut but it came at a price.

The third round on Saturday was sad to watch. The dramatic cool down in the temperature did not help but even if it had been 30°C it would not have masked his inability to function even close to normally to complete 18 holes.

Woods battled his way around and in truth it could have been even worse for him

‘Well I’m sore, that’s a fact,’ he said after shooting 79, his worst score in this major. As for the final round, he said: ‘We’ll do some work and see how it goes.’

Third-round leader Mito Pereira had just completed his day’s work on Saturday when the news of Tiger’s withdrawal came through from his camp. ‘As much as he’s trying and working, the body won’t co-operate,’ LaCava told American magazine Golfweek.

With three weeks to the US Open and then another three to the Open, it seems likely that Woods will now focus all his energies on trying to make the latter date. It would be heartbreaking indeed if, after all his efforts, he was not able to play over an Old Course where he ruled supreme at the 2000 Open, where he won by eight, and again in 2005 where he won by five.

Once more, the golf world is back in a state where a silent prayer is being offered up regarding the health and the future of its superstar beyond compare.

It seems likely that Tiger Woods will now concentrate his efforts on trying to be ready for St Andrews and the 150th Open Championship this summer

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