BOZICH | Expect Tiger's PGA parking space to be open all week - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Expect Tiger's PGA parking space to be open all week

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Steve Stricker turned his sparkling gray Mercedes courtesy vehicle left, off Shelbyville Road, onto the grounds at Valhalla Golf Club early Monday morning – and drove it directly into a preferred parking space reserved for a former PGA champion.

The spot was reserved for Tiger Woods, who has won four PGA titles but is currently injured.

The spot was used by Stricker, who has never won a major championship.

Get comfortable, Steve. I believe that space will be available all week. There’s nothing official, but it certainly appears unlikely that Woods will play in the 96th PGA Championship.

Never mind swinging a golf club. Ever try walking 72 holes up and down hills in 88-degree temperature with an uncooperative back? No wonder that prime parking space was available Monday.

“Joey (LaCava), his caddy was there,” Stricker said.

“I said, ‘Is Tiger coming in today?’ He said, ‘No.’

“I said, ‘I’m going to park in his spot then.’ Hopefully (Tiger) gets back. Hopefully it was just a little blip on his screen there. Hopefully he comes back and plays well this week. We need him on that Ryder Cup team.”

So it went at Valhalla Monday, where the only official movement in the Tiger Woods’ story was that the golfercanceledd a press conference scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Adam Scott said if the Valhalla greens remained as soft as they played on Monday that the scoreboard would be illuminated with birdies. Stricker reminisced about his 2008 Ryder Cup experience here.

Martin Kaymer, the reigning U.S. Open champion, said that accurate iron play would be a greater predictor of success that distance off the tee. Rickie Fowler, a solid contender in the first three 2014 major championships, said he’s working on his checklist so he can finish in the top five again.

But not one of them had a syllable of information about whether Tiger Woods would be available to defend the PGA title he won the last time the tournament was played at Valhalla 14 years ago. Tiger made the scoreboard tilt that day, beating Bob May in a three-hole playoff after both guys shot 18-under-par.

Tiger is not going to do that again. Hasn’t played with that kind of crackling dominance for several years. He had back surgery a little more than four months ago. He finished 69th in the 72-player field at the British Open less than three weeks ago.

Makes little sense for Woods to push it here.

The other contenders are uncertain about Woods’ schedule. They don’t know any more than theflag stickk at 18.

They hope that he plays. It stirs the galleries and makes their adrenaline percolate when Woods is in the field. It’s a major championship. Tiger has won 14 of them. You expect Woods to be one of the guys you have to outplay to earn the Wanamaker Trophy. He hasn’t won a major title since 2008, but the idea that Woods is a contender has not completely disappeared. Not yet.

But they don’t know.

Stricker, one of Woods’ pals, said that he sent Tiger a Get Well text message after Woods withdrew from the Bridgestone event in Akron, Ohio Sunday and then flew home to Florida.

“I told him best wishes,” Stricker said. “Hopefully that he’s feeling all right and that he’s going to be able to play. That’s that. No one knows. Hopefully he’ll be here.”

Did you ask LaCava?

“Yes,” Stricker said.

Do you have a scoop to report?

“No,” he said.

What about Kaymer? He was paired with Woods for the first two rounds Akron. Kaymer is a sharp student of the game. Kaymer walked 36 holes with Woods. Surely he can deliver a prediction about what is next for Tiger.

Did Tiger move play like a guy who was struggling prior to the weekend?

“Not to me,” Kaymer said.

“But obviously on Sunday when he hit that shot from the bunker it must have done something. I like to play with him. If you play with the best player in the world, you can always learn something.”

All the information we have so far is about as reliable as a Ouija Board. Woods has yet to withdraw. His people have told several media outlets a decision might come Tuesday. Or it might not.

Tiger is booked for an 8:35 a.m. Thursday tee time at the 10th hole with Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington. I’m guessing Steve Stricker can continue to park in that same spot.

Copyright 2014 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.


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