After speaking with Tiger Woods on Sunday afternoon, NBC Sports analyst Notah Begay III said it was still “up in the air” whether the former world No. 1 would be able to tee it up at next week’s PGA Championship.
Begay said he spoke with his close friend and former Stanford teammate after Woods returned home to South Florida following his withdrawal during the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Playing in just his third start since March 31 back surgery, Woods said he “jarred” his lower back after falling into a bunker on the second hole. He withdrew after hitting his tee shot on the ninth hole and appeared to be in severe discomfort while climbing into his courtesy car.
“The first thing he was concerned with was making sure that he didn’t sustain a serious injury,” Begay said Sunday night on “Golf Central” when asked about Woods' status for the PGA. “So he’s going to have his team in Florida evaluate it. There’s certainly no timeline. …That’s all up in the air. I couldn’t talk with any certainty about whether or not he’s going to play next week.”
Watching the coverage from his home in Dallas, Begay thought that Woods’ second shot on the second hole – in which his ball was perched awkwardly on an upslope above a fairway bunker – “might be a little bit of an issue down the road.”
“It wasn’t the actual shot that did it,” Begay said. “He mentioned to me that when he landed on his right foot when he fell back in the bunker was what tweaked the region he’s been trying to improve over the last few months.”
When asked whether Woods had any issues before Sunday, Begay said, “No, not at all. Everything was moving in the right direction. A lot of emphasis has been placed on his scorecard and that hasn’t really been the primary focus for him. It’s been in getting the range of motion and trying to get a better feel for shots and the execution for shots.”