Golf: Tiger Woods plays at Southern Hills ahead of PGA Championship

Tiger Woods playing at the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2022, before his practicing in Oklahoma. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Tiger Woods played a practice round at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Thursday (April 28), three weeks ahead of the start of the PGA Championship at the famed course.

The 15-time Major winner made his return to competition earlier this month at the Masters after suffering severe leg injuries 14 months ago in a car crash. He made the cut but struggled over the last 36 holes and finished 47th.

His private jet was spotted at the city's airport and both Golf Channel and Golf Digest reported the 46-year-old was playing 18 holes to test his stamina on the same course where he won the 2007 PGA Championship.

Southern Hills will host next month's 104th PGA Championship from May 19 to 22 and Golf Digest reported that Woods plans to play, barring a setback in preparing for the event.

Woods has said he hopes to play in the 150th British Open in July at St Andrews and a two-day tune-up event in Ireland before that, but has not been firm about other tournaments, including next month's Major in Tulsa and the US Open in June in Boston.

Cary Cozby, the club professional at Southern Hills, was walking the course with Woods, according to Golf Channel.

The move is similar to what Woods did before the Masters, when he arrived at Augusta National for a practice round with son Charlie and friend Justin Thomas. He played at the tournament, with tremendous support from spectators and interest from fans worldwide.

Woods proved his surgically repaired right leg could handle the hills at one of the toughest walks in golf at Augusta, but his work at Southern Hills was expected to focus on sharpening his skills and seeing what changes have been made to the layout since his victory there 15 years ago.

Southern Hills underwent a major renovation in 2019, with bunkers reshaped and many trees removed. The only major hills in the layout come on the ninth and 18th holes.

In brutally hot weather back in 2007, Woods fired a second-round 63 at Southern Hills, a seven-under par round matching what was then the low round in Major history. He went on to finish on eight-under and defeat compatriot Woody Austin by two strokes.

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