Inspired by Tiger Woods, Golfer Breaks Ground at P.G.A. Championship


Wyatt Worthington II, left, with his caddie, Adam Claytor, before practice for the P.G.A. Championship. The last time a black club pro qualified for the P.G.A. event was in 1991.

Ben Solomon for The New York Times

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Like a phantom presence, Tiger Woods still looms at major championships, absent but not out of mind.

When Woods’s name came up arbitrarily during preparations for this week’s P.G.A. Championship, Jordan Spieth, for example, seized on it as an opportunity to herald Woods, tellingly separating him from today’s best golfers.

“I don’t think there’s any Tiger out here right now,” Spieth said of Woods, a four-time P.G.A. champion. “I think that’s fair to say.”

But Woods’s considerable influence on the game continues to echo. In the field for the first round of the P.G.A. Championship on Thursday will be Wyatt Worthington II, who is just the second African-American club professional to have qualified for the event, and the first in 25 years.

Perhaps the most meaningful day in the 29-year-old Worthington’s career…

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