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Pain-free Woods says he’ll play in PGA Championship

Pain-free Woods says he’ll play in PGA Championship

Louisville, KY ( – Tiger Woods says he’s pain-free and planning to play in the PGA Championship, which starts Thursday.

Woods ended speculation about his plans for the season’s fourth major when he showed up at Valhalla Golf Club for a practice round on Wednesday afternoon — just three days after withdrawing from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with back spasms.

After playing nine holes he told assembled media that the spasms were gone and he’s no longer in pain. He said the injury that forced him to withdraw on Sunday wasn’t related to the surgery he had in March to fix a pinched nerve, which kept him out of competition for almost three months.

“It’s something totally different,” said Woods.

After driving his own courtesy SUV to the course and being followed by TV cameras from the parking lot to the range, Woods warmed up before playing the front side of the course in a foursome with pal Steve Stricker, Davis Love III and Harris English.

Valhalla looks different than it did when Woods beat Bob May in a playoff to win the 2000 PGA Championship on the course. Woods said Wednesday he threw his old Valhalla yardage book away but will go about things as he normally does.

“I’m going to try to go out there and win,” he said. “That’s all I’m focused on.”

The four-time PGA champion is scheduled to begin his first round off the 10th tee at 8:35 a.m. EDT alongside Padraig Harrington and Phil Mickelson.

Woods missed nearly three months after his surgery, sitting out the Masters and U.S. Open. He said after he withdrew on Sunday that he “jarred” his back on a shot, causing the spasms.

Still up in the air for Woods is a potential spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. U.S. captain Tom Watson said Wednesday that Woods has told him he’s eager to be on the team.

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