After withdrawing from last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in the final round, Tiger Woods is doing all he can to tee it up in the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.
Woods has yet to declare his intentions for the final major of the season in Louisville, Kentucky, but he appears determined to play, requesting for an extension to register on Tuesday. Theo Keith of WAVE-TV reported the news:
#PGAChamp registration deadline was 5p today. Golf Channel reports Tiger Woods asked for extension, he'll have until his Thursday tee time.— Theo Keith (@TheoKeith) August 5, 2014
Bubba Watson was paired with Woods at Firestone when his back injury was re-aggravated. The reigning Masters champion isn't one to count Woods out, despite yet another health setback:
"I don't gamble. If I did, I'd always pick Tiger Woods." - Bubba Watson when made aware he and Tiger were both 33 to 1 odds at the #PGAChamp— Golf Central (@GolfCentral) August 5, 2014
No one has dominated golf quite like Woods did in his heyday, but his biggest challenger figures to be Rory McIlroy. The new No. 1 and winner of his past two starts, including The Open Championship, offered his take on Woods' situation.
"Obviously, I feel bad for him," said McIlroy, per CBSSports.com's Kyle Porter. "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."
ESPN Stats & Info highlighted how much trouble Woods' back has given him amid a 2013-14 PGA Tour season that has never really gotten off the ground:
Tiger Woods has dealt with back issues throughout the 2014 season, including withdrawing from 2 tournaments. pic.twitter.com/nRb2dC23bw— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 4, 2014
If Woods is fit enough to give it a go at Valhalla, he faces a field headlined by stars in supreme form—particularly McIlroy:
The top-5 players in the world are all peeking at the right time. pic.twitter.com/Fu2qvk5YsS— Golf Central (@GolfCentral) August 5, 2014
Should Tiger Woods try to play in the PGA Championship?
Woods is facing a dilemma. Based on how much visible pain he was in this last Sunday, it's hard to imagine him competing in a major championship. Then again, he won his last major, his 14th overall, at the 2008 U.S. Open on a torn ACL and broken leg.
Valhalla was the site of an epic duel in 2000, where Woods defeated Bob May in a playoff to secure the Wanamaker Trophy. Since he's had PGA Championship success at this venue in the past, Woods may be feeling a need to play this week, along with a sense of urgency to get off his winless streak at the majors.
However, as McIlroy suggests, Woods may want to focus on getting healthy before he re-embarks on his quest to catch Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major wins.
Woods has fought through pain to play at a high level before, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him give it a go at Valhalla. At the same time, he isn't getting any younger and has had to pull out of numerous events in recent years.
A legendary competitive streak has defined Woods' career, but now that enviable attribute is threatening his longevity.