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Hurting Tiger withdraws from PGA after woeful 79, Pereira leads

TULSA, UNITED STATES (AFP) – Tiger Woods withdrew from the PGA Championship after limping to a nine-over par 79 in Saturday’s third round, his remarkable comeback from severe leg injuries succumbing to a painful reality.

Woods withdrew from a major for the first time as a professional and only the second time ever following the 1995 United States (US) Open.

After struggling to the third-worst major round of his career with pain in his surgically repaired right leg, the 15-time major winner would not commit to playing yesterday’s final round at Southern Hills.

“Well, I’m sore,” Woods said. “I know that is for a fact. We’ll do some work and see how it goes.”

It didn’t go well, and just after the round was completed, Woods let organisers know he was done.

Tiger Woods. PHOTO: AFP

“We admire Tiger’s valiant effort to compete here at Southern Hills and wish him the best as he continues to recover from his injuries,” said PGA of America president Jim Richerson.

Chile’s Mito Pereira fired a one-under-par 69 to stand on nine-under 211 after 54 holes with a three-stroke lead over England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick and American Will Zalatoris.

But the spotlight was on Woods as it had been all week at Southern Hills.

Woods suffered severe right leg damage in a February 2021 car crash and spent weeks hospitalised and months unable to walk.

But he made an emotional return 14 months after the accident to finish 47th at last month’s Masters, his major feat being to walk 72 holes at hilly Augusta National while huge crowds of spectators cheered him at every hole.

His second comeback event didn’t end so well.

Woods made five consecutive bogeys at a major for the first time in his career from the ninth through 13th holes and stood on 12-over 222 after 54 holes when he pulled the plug.

“I didn’t do anything right,” Woods said. “I didn’t hit many good shots. Consequently I ended up with a pretty high score.”

After struggling to his worst Masters rounds with weekend 78s, Woods again could not follow the effort to make a cut in Tulsa with a solid round.

Woods struggled to his worst-ever score in 79 PGA Championship rounds and his only worse major scores were a 10-over 81 in the third round of the 2002 British Open and a 10-over 80 in the first round of the 2015 US Open.