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Club pros couldn't care less about chasing Tiger

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 5, 2014 at 2:09 am •  Published: August 5, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Brian Norman can be excused for not getting all worked up over whether Tiger Woods plays in the PGA Championship.

Norman qualified for his first major at age 32.

He's going to have the time of his life, with or without Woods.

"Hitting balls next to some of the best players in the world is awesome," said Norman, one of 20 club professionals who earned a spot in the final major of the year.

Norman was especially giddy Monday after finishing up a practice round at Valhalla Golf Club. This is a homecoming for the native of Henderson, Kentucky, and he actually attended the last PGA Championship at this course back in 2000, when Woods beat Bob May in a playoff for the third in what would become four straight major championships.

"It was an incredible atmosphere," Norman recalled.

When Woods won the Masters the following April, they called it the Tiger Slam.

This time around, it's not even known if there will be a Tiger in the field.

About four months removed from back surgery, Woods reinjured himself last weekend after playing a shot off an awkward lie at the Bridgestone Invitational.

His caddie, Joe LaCava, went through his normal Monday routine, walking the entire golf course and jotting notes in his yardage book.

But there was no sign of Woods. Even if he does turn up, it seems unlikely he would be able to make any sort of serious run at that long-delayed 15th major title, considering he's barely played at all this year — and not very well when he does.

"I'm optimistic," LaCava said after he finished charting the layout about 20 miles east of downtown Louisville. "I'm hoping he plays. So I'm just doing whatever work I would normally do."

Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said Monday was too early for doctors to decide whether Woods could or even should try to play this week. The PGA of America said that Woods would not have his previously scheduled news conference Tuesday morning, but provided no other details.

"Obviously, I feel bad for him," Rory McIlroy, the world's top-ranked player, told the BBC. "The game of golf really needs Tiger. He's had a few withdrawals the past couple of years. I think the first thing is just to get fit and 100 percent healthy, even if that means taking the year off and coming back next year ready to play golf."

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