Golf / Sports

Tiger 'pain free' after practice round

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Tiger Woods declared himself "pain-free" after playing nine practice holes at Valhalla Golf Club on Wednesday, three days after withdrawing from Sunday's final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Woods, who has won the PGA Championship four times, said his injury was unrelated to his March 31 back surgery.

"Basically when I landed in the bunker, my sacrum went out," Woods said.

Woods, who returned to his home in Florida for medical evaluation and treatment, said his "treatment has been fantastic" once his physiotherapist got the sacrum bone back in place.

Woods played the front nine with Davis Love III, Steve Stricker and Webb Simpson. He addressed reporters before planning to walk the back nine and gauge the greens, which have been redone since he outdueled Bob May here in 2000 in a memorable major.

Woods has endured an injury-plagued season that also featured him missing the Masters for the first time in 20 years.

Kerry Haigh, the PGA of America's Chief Championships Officer, said alternates are on site to replace golfers who can't compete. Woods said he plans to use his 8:35 a.m. Eastern tee time with partners Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington.

"Every PGA Championship, we always have the alternates literally on the putting green or practice range during the tee off, the two-hour tee period," Haigh said. "So if any player either misses their tee time because they were running late, caught in traffic or whatever, or somebody calls and says they are withdrawing, that alternate is there ready to go."

Woods needed just one word to assess whether he believes he can win.

"Yes," he said.

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