Tiger Woods plays through pain22 May 2022
Tiger Woods clenched his jaw when the pain hit.
He limped, occasionally used a driver like a cane, and pushed his rebuilt right leg over and through the hills and swales of Southern Hills on Friday with a singular mission: to get to the weekend at the PGA Championship.
And he did it. Woods shot a second-round 1-under 69 that put him at 3-over par for the tournament, one shot inside the cut line. He was in danger of missing the weekend before rallying with two birdies over the final six holes.
"You can't win the tournament if you miss the cut. I've won tournaments - not major championships, but I've won tournaments on the cut number," Woods said after he gingerly walked the few steps up to the stage for his post-round interview.
"There's a reason why you fight hard and you're able to give yourself a chance on the weekend." Few consider that a realistic scenario the way Woods has to fight his body to get through a round. A car crash 15 months left his right leg so badly damaged that doctors considered amputation.
Woods returned to competition last month at the Masters. He made the cut there and gutted through the weekend at Augusta National in a glorious return in front of adoring galleries. He didn't play again until returning to the PGA, a championship he has won four times, most recently in 2007 at Southern Hills.
The fans at the PGA Championship have pushed him along again, even when he looked miserable. He opened with a 4-over 74. He said just about everything made his leg hurt that day before he left the course for a night of physical therapy and ice baths.
He recovered well enough to tee it up again Friday, which by itself impressed playing partner Rory McIlroy.
"Just incredibly resilient and mentally tough," said McIlroy, who chatted with Woods often during Friday's round. "He's feeling it, and he's feeling it on every swing. … Yeah, look, he's the ultimate pro. Looking at him yesterday, if that would have been me, I would have been considering pulling out and just going home. But Tiger is different and he's proved he's different. It was just a monumental effort." Woods never considered leaving.