Monday, May 21, 2018

Ryder captain Watson unsure about injured Tiger

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — U.S. captain Tom Watson said Monday that Tiger Woods' latest back injury "doesn't bode well right now" for Woods playing in the Ryder Cup.

Watson told SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio he was watching the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday when Woods withdrew after hitting his tee shot on the ninth hole because of an injury to his back.

"Tiger would be a great addition to our team," Watson said. "As I've said all along, I would pick Tiger Woods if he's healthy and playing well. This doesn't bode well right now. I just hope that maybe it's just an isolated problem that he can turn around and possibly play this week at the PGA."

Woods flew home to Florida on Sunday to be evaluated. It was not clear when he would know if he could play in the PGA Championship at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky., where Woods won the major in 2000. His caddie was on the course Monday.

Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said in an email that Monday would be too early for doctors to decide whether Woods should try to play this week after another back injury. The PGA said Woods would not have his previously scheduled news conference today.

Before leaving Firestone, Woods said he jarred his back when he hopped into a deep bunker after playing a shot on the par-5 second hole from an awkward lie off the slope above the sand.

"It's just the whole lower back," Woods said. "I don't know what happened."

He hit one shot into the water on No. 3, another on the par-3 fifth that was 65 yards short of the flag.

"I watched him play almost the entire front nine," Watson said. "And the shot he had at 5 … I said, 'Something's wrong with Tiger.' You don't hit that terrible a shot ever — ever. And then, of course, No. 9, he just couldn't go any farther. It concerns me because that's an injury that seems like he tried to address before and he's come back from that particular injury."

Watson said he sent Woods a text to express his concern about the injury

"Obviously, I feel bad for him," Rory McIlroy said. "The game of golf really needs Tiger. He's had a few withdrawals the past couple of years. I think the first thing is just to get fit and 100 percent healthy, even if that means taking the year off and coming back next year ready to play golf."

Caddie Joe LaCava was at Valhalla awaiting word on whether Woods would play.

"I'm optimistic," LaCava said after he finished charting the course. "I'm hoping he plays. So I'm just doing whatever work I would normally do."

Woods missed two majors and three months of the season after March 31 back surgery. He has no chance of making the Ryder Cup team unless he wins the PGA Championship. The Ryder Cup will begin Sept. 23 in Perthshire, Scotland.

U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR: Su-Hyun Oh shot 4-under 66 in the U.S. Women's Amateur to take the first-round lead in stroke-play qualifying in Glen Cove, N.Y. Hannah O'Sullivan was a stroke back. The top 64 after today's second round will advance to match play.