Sunday, December 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

The Tiger watch is on for final major of the year

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods watches his drive on the fourth hole during the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

By
August 06, 2014 |

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Joe LaCava walked nearly every blade of grass on the 18th green at Valhalla Golf Club, jotting notes in his yardage book after stepping off the distances from every edge of the green to every possible pin position. It was just like any other Monday at a major.

The caddie just didn’t know whether any of this information would be useful in the PGA Championship. LaCava was awaiting word on whether his boss — Tiger Woods — would be healthy enough to play the final major of the year.

“I’m optimistic,” LaCava said after he finished charting the entire golf course. “I’m hoping he plays. So I’m just doing whatever work I would normally do.”

The caddie was at Valhalla. So was his car, a silver SUV parked in the spot assigned to the four-time major champion.

As for Woods?

Stay tuned. His agent, Mark Steinberg at Excel Sports Management, said in an email that Monday would be too early for doctors to decide whether Woods could or even should try to play this week after another back injury.

The PGA of America said that Woods would not have his previously scheduled news conference Tuesday morning. It did not provide additional details.

Woods took another turn toward an uncertain future when he withdrew after eight holes and one final shot Sunday at the Bridgestone Invitational. Before leaving Firestone, he 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.”

Making the picture look even bleaker was the timing. Woods had back surgery March 31 to alleviate the pain from a pinched nerve. The Bridgestone Invitational was only his third tournament since returning from a three-month absence. And there he went again, riding off the golf course in a cart, struggling to even remove his shoes before LaCava drove him to the airport for a flight back to Florida for evaluation.

“Obviously, I feel bad for him,” Rory McIlroy told the BBC on Monday. “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.”

If he doesn’t play the PGA Championship, his season indeed would be over.

Woods has to win the final major of the year to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs. He would have to win to clinch a spot on the Ryder Cup team. And by the sound of U.S. captain Tom Watson, he would have to play at Valhalla to even merit consideration as a wild-card selection.

“Tiger would be a great addition to our team,” Watson told SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio on Monday. “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.”

Watson said he watched the entire front nine and knew something was wrong with Woods after his tee shot on the par-3 fifth hole came up 65 yards short.

“You don’t hit that terrible a shot ever — ever,” Watson said. “And I said, ‘Something is wrong.'”

LaCava noticed it much earlier, when Woods hit a shot so heavy that it came up 30 yards short of the flag and into the water on the third hole.

“I knew he was hurting when he fatted the one on 3, which he never does,” LaCava said. “He never fats them like that.”

Woods kept playing, though, until grimacing on a tee shot at the ninth, slowly bending to remove his tee and calling for a cart to take him in. Why not stop sooner?

“He’s tough,” LaCava said. “Tough and stubborn would be two good words.”

Woods has not been back to Valhalla in 14 years, not since that high-charged playoff victory over Bob May that gave Woods his third straight major on his way to an unprecedented sweep of the majors at the height of his game. Woods was recovering from season-ending knee surgery in 2008 and did not play in the Ryder Cup.

The course has changed since, with Jack Nicklaus making various tweaks, especially around the green. The par is now 71 with the second hole changed to a par 4. Otherwise, it looked to be in immaculate conditions on the first day of practice.

Phil Mickelson, coming off a 62 in the final round at Firestone, played nine holes. The practice range and chipping area were crowded with players. McIlroy already was back at work, having established himself as the overwhelming favorite coming off his wire-to-wire win at the British Open and rallying from three shots behind to win at Firestone.

Still to be determined is whether Woods would be able to join them.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Shining bright for all to see: Locals deck out yards, homes

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
The Salvation Army serves 1,000-plus across 2 days

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 7 Comments | Gallery

Blue Christmas service offers reflection, hope

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1

 
Time for annual Solano County quiz

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Bevy of holiday activities at Western Railway Museum

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
State Fair scholarship applications available

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Get tested, know your status

By Morgan Westfall | From Page: C4

 
 
New development fees start Jan. 1 in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

Free New Year’s celebration slated

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
A word of warning for Senator Warren

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7, 11 Comments

 
New technology chief will join McNaughton Newspapers

By Tanya Perez | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Sky-high price has VA rationing hep C drug

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Air Force admits nuke flaws, but will fixes work?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
 
Design of Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier OK’d

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Officials: Missing dog was dyed to deceive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Immigrants build document trails to remain in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California officer kills teen after machete attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
4 teens die in fiery head-on crash in Pennsylvania

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

2 dozen injured in southern Indiana bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Texas ranchers seeking alternative incomes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

2 car bombs rock southern Sweden’s city of Malmo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Bombings kill 12 in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

US sends 4 Afghans back home from Guantanamo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Panama’s Noriega in prison 25 years post-invasion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Burying the dead after Pakistan’s school massacre

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
A chance to breach divide for young in Cuba and US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Season’s greetings from the Obamas

By Alexandra Petri | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

New school finance strategy lacks accountability

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for Dec. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Dec. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Dec. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 4 Comments

Why celebrate Christmas?

By Noel Reese | From Page: C3, 4 Comments

 
Vatican offers olive branch to US nuns

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3, 1 Comment

Horoscopes: Dec. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
Should I ask grandson why we weren’t included in wedding photos?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

.

Entertainment

Review: ‘Five’ by Ursula Archer is intriguing

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Publisher hopes to sell books through Twitter

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Chris Colfer has multi-book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Jerry Lee Lewis: Sustained by brief blaze of glory

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

New Giants 3B McGehee eager to play back home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Interim coaching jobs present challenges in bowls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers squander 21-point lead in 4th straight loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Eagles near elimination, fall 27-24 to Redskins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Raiders place cornerback Brown on injured reserve

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
No. 11 Lady Vols trounce No. 7 Stanford 59-40

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Big moves bring big hope for Chicago baseball

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
US skier Nyman wins Gardena downhill for 3rd time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Vonn wins women’s World Cup downhill in France

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Business

Your info has been hacked. Now what do you do?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
On the money: 4 ways to hold on to your cash when renting a car

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Recalls this week: Bean bag chairs, toy monkeys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Scarecrows outnumber people in dying Japan town

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Obituaries

Barbara Jean Bidstrup Braker

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Perry Michael Smetts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Luzdivina B. Banks

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Arnold Howard Evans

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Anthony Hanson Elder

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Dominic C. Scolaro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics