Tiger Woods defeated Bob May in a playoff to win the 2000 PGA at Valhalla, but he noticed a completely different golf course after playing the front nine today. Woods was unable to get to the course before Wednesday because he was recovering from back spasms caused by a popped sacrum.
Tiger told reporters while walking to the tenth hole that once the sacrum was put back in place, the spasms went away. He added, “The inflammation has been down, I’ve had range of motion. As you saw out there, I got my speed, my power, and I just need to obviously keep moving.”
By yesterday afternoon, Tiger knew he would be able to play. When he arrived at Valhalla around 1pm ET, the cameras followed his every move and thousands of fans greeted him on the first tee. Woods said, “It feels great to be back here. The fans are enthusiastic. They’re loud. They’re into it.”
He also mentioned he will rely on his caddie, Joe LaCava, because the course has changed. “It’s a totally different golf course than what I played in 2000. These greens are all different. I have my book from 2000, it’s useless. There’s some new things that we have to learn out there. Joey has been here on the ground. He’s got a pretty good handle on it. We’ll run through some more of it as we go.”
Tiger was in a joking mood as well after being asked for the second time if he was pain-free. “Pain‑free, yes, except for the headache of talking to you guys.”
On a serious note, Woods is back to his winning mentality. “Try to go out there and win this event. That’s all I’m focused on.”
He is also happy to hear Steve Stricker was named an assistant captain by Tom Watson earlier today. “I think it’s great. It’s fantastic because Strick is not only a good guy, he’s also one of our peers.”
“You have Tom [Watson], Raymond [Floyd] as well as Andy [North], who don’t play out here anymore. Don’t really know the guys. I think it’s important to have someone who is out here on a regular basis, who knows the guys, knows their personalities, knows their games inside and out. I think that’s well deserved. Also a pretty smart move as well.”
Well said Tiger, now it’s time to dominate.
–Bernie D’Amato (@bdamato711)