(New throughout, adds details)
By Steve Keating
TULSA, Oklahoma, May 21 (Reuters) - Tiger Woods withdrew from the PGA Championship on Saturday, after carding one of his worst rounds ever at a major tournament: a nine-over 79.
Woods, in his second start after a car crash 15 months ago nearly cost him his right leg, appeared dejected and in pain as he trudged off the 18th green at Southern Hill Country Club.
Asked if he would be back for Sunday's fourth round, Woods was non-committal. He officially announced his withdrawal about five hours after his finish.
“Tiger Woods has informed us that he is withdrawing from the 2022 PGA Championship," PGA of America President Jim Richerson said in a statement. "We admire Tiger’s valiant effort to compete here at Southern Hills and wish him the best as he continues to recover from his injuries.”
The last time Woods withdrew from a tournament was in 2019 prior to the second round of the Northern Trust.
It is the first time he has withdrawn from a major since the U.S. Open in 1995.
After narrowly making the cut at Southern Hills, a defiant Woods predicted he still had a chance to win the PGA Championship. Any remaining belief disappeared in his nightmare nine-over 79, his highest ever score at the PGA Championship and third worst round ever at a major.
Just making the cut at Southern Hills was something to celebrate but for Woods and his thousands of fans there was precious little to cheer -- although they did every shot.
Sitting 12 off the pace at the start of play, the task facing Woods already looked impossible but the 46-year-old American has made a career of defying the odds, including his latest comeback from the accident.
He was in the ninth pair out on a cold, rainy day. The bogeys quickly piled up for him, and he hobbled away a massive 21 shots back of leader Will Zalatoris, who had yet to tee off.
The bravado Woods displayed on Friday had completely vanished as the 15-time major winner headed for treatment.
"I'm sore," Woods told a reporter. "I know that is for a fact. We'll do some work and see how it goes."
Before withdrawing Woods was anchored to the bottom of the leaderboard at 12-over 222. (Reporting by Steve Keating in Tulsa, additional reporting Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)