FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Tigers last competitive round was at the Masters.

 

 

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 14: Tiger Woods of the United States celebrates with the Masters Trophy during the Green Jacket Ceremony after winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

 

 

Tiger Woods is back at Bethpage Black after a late decision to skip the final round of practice at the PGA Championship.

Woods had planned to play the front nine early Wednesday morning, but never showed up at the course. That led to speculation his surgically-repaired back was acting up. His manager says all was fine.

 

 

BETHPAGE, NEW YORK – MAY 14: Tiger Woods of the United States looks on during a practice round prior to the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course on May 14, 2019 in Bethpage, New York. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

 

 

Coming off his emotional win at the Masters, Woods is in the traditional group of current major champions. He is with U.S. Open and PGA champion Brooks Koepka and British Open champion Francesco Molinari.

The forecast was good. The course was soft and wet. The scores were predictable. With a two-tee start, players starting on the back nine had a far more difficult start. Thomas Pieters opened with a triple bogey at No. 10. Kiradech Aphibarnrat had back-to-back double bogeys.

 

 

FARMINGDALE, NEW YORK – MAY 16: Tiger Woods of the United States
warms up on the practice range during the first round of the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course on May 16, 2019 in Farmingdale, New York. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

 

The only early drama was J.J. Spaun. He was in the first group and walked onto the tee at No. 1 with a minute to spare, avoiding a two-shot penalty. It didn’t seem to bother him. He was 2 under through four holes.

Tiger Woods goes after his next major on a familiar golf course for a PGA Championship held on an unfamiliar spot on the calendar.

The 101st PGA Championship began Thursday morning on Bethpage Black, the first time it has been held in May since 1949. The public course known as the “people’s country club” previously hosted two U.S. Opens.

 

 

AUSTIN, TEXAS – MARCH 30: Tiger Woods of the United States plays a shot on the 14th hole in his match against Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland during the fourth round of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club on March 30, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

 

Rob Labritz, one of 20 club professionals in the 156-man field, hit the opening tee shot under a clearing sky on a course still damp from rain. He sent it well to the right in the rough among the trees.

Woods plays later in the morning with defending champion Brooks Koepka and British Open champion Francesco Molinari. Woods has not played a practice round since nine holes Monday morning.

 

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