US PGA Championship: Tiger Woods says he is pain free and ready to play at Valhalla
Last Updated: 07/08/14 11:32am
Tiger Woods insists he is pain free and ready to play in the US PGA Championship at Valhalla.
Woods' participation in the final major of the year had been in serious doubt after he withdrew from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational during Sunday's final round after suffering back spasms.
The 38-year-old American, who underwent back surgery on March 31, only arrived at the Kentucky venue at 1:15pm local time on Wednesday.
He warmed up on the range and then played the front nine in front of large crowds alongside Steve Stricker, Davis Love III and Harris English before speaking to the media.
Woods, who opted just to chip and putt on the back nine, revealed that the sacrum bone in his back had been dislodged when he played his second shot on the second hole at Firestone on Sunday - he had to jump back into a fairway bunker - but that his physio had "popped the bone back in."
"My physio is here so if it goes out he is able to fix it," he added. "It was a different pain, I knew it was not the site of the surgery. This is something totally different.
"I still need to build up strength and it's going to take more time. The treatment has been fantastic, once the bone was put back in the spasms went away and from there I started to get some range of motion."
Woods said he would be taking anti-inflammatories this week but "pain meds no, because I'm not in any."
He is scheduled to tee off at 8:35am local time on Thursday alongside Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington
The 14-time major winner won the US PGA the last time it was staged at Valhalla in 2000, but did not play in the Ryder Cup in 2008 and the course has since undergone extensive renovation led by designer Jack Nicklaus.
"I had my yardage book from 2000 but it's useless,” said Woods.
“Joey (his caddie Joe LaCava) has been here and got a pretty good handle on it. I feel pretty good about how I played. I need to get more of a feel how this course is playing."
Asked if he was capable of winning this week to end a title drought at the majors of more than six years despite his limited tournament preparation, Woods replied: "Yes."
Watch live coverage of the first round of the US PGA Championship on Thursday live on Sky Sports 4 from 6pm - or via the red button from 1pm