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Tiger Woods’ back will be something to watch for at PGA Championship

Tiger Woods has dealt with back injuries for some time now. We break down what it might mean at the 2020 PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods of the United States plays a shot on the third hole during the final round of The Memorial Tournament on July 19, 2020 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Tiger Woods is back in action starting Thursday morning at the 2020 PGA Championship, when he tees off at 11:33 a.m.. He’s looking to secure his 16th major victory and a record-breaking 83rd PGA Tour win.

Woods last played three weeks ago at the Memorial Tournament, and it was rough going. He opened solidly enough with a 71, but then stumbled to a 76 on Friday. He just barely made the cut thanks to other golfers’ struggles, and put up a solid enough 71 on Saturday. He finished poorly however with a Sunday 76 to finish +6 for the tournament.

On that Friday of the Memorial, Woods acknowledged his back had tightened up heading into Friday play. He felt it tighten up while he was trying to get loose that morning. It resulted in struggles most of Friday, and compensating to make up for it, according to the New York Times.

Throughout the latter half of his round, Woods had difficulty making a full backswing on tee shots with a driver or a 3-wood, and when trying to unleash his typically powerful swipe at the ball, he was unable to hold the club with both hands. With his right hand coming off the club grip, he repeatedly hit weaker shots that faded to the right. Eventually, he seemed to start aiming to the left to compensate.

Woods is a popular bet heading into the PGA Championship, and likely will have some decent usage in DraftKings DFS contests. In reality, you might be better fading Woods this week. If he can stay healthy, he’s had success at Harding Park, but at this stage in his career, counting on a healthy Woods is a significant roll of the dice.

We’ll keep our fingers crossed this week, but keep an eye on that back.