Preview: Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship
May 15, 2019
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- May 15, 2019
Inside the PGA TOUR
Tiger Woods chases 82nd win at PGA Championship
With one more win, Tiger Woods will tie Sam Snead for most career PGA TOUR victories at 82. Each time Tiger tees it up, we’ll take a look at his chances for that particular week. Here’s a CHASING 82 preview entering this week’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
Take an in-depth look at all 81 wins of his iconic career as the chase continues.
Woods, of course, comes off his memorable win at the Masters last month. It was his first major victory in 11 years, and the 15th major win of his career. It was his second win in his last seven starts, going back to the season-ending TOUR Championship last September when he won for the first time on the PGA TOUR in five years.
With four weeks off between starts, Woods was asked about the extended absence from competition since Augusta National.
“The only other time where I've taken four weeks off prior to major championships is going from the British Open to the PGA,” Woods said. “Usually that was my summer break and take those four weeks off and then get ready for the PGA, Firestone and the fall. So I'm always looking for breaks. Generally it's after the Masters I used to take four weeks off there. Now, with the condensed schedule, it's trying to find breaks.
“You know, I wanted to play at Quail Hollow, but to be honest with you, I wasn't ready yet to start the grind of practicing and preparing and logging all those hours again. I was lifting -- my numbers were good. I was feeling good in the gym, but I wasn't mentally prepared to log in the hours.
“Coming here is a different story. I was able to log in the hours, put in the time and feel rested and ready. That's going to be the interesting part going forward; how much do I play and how much do I rest?”
Woods is making his 20th start in the PGA Championship. He’s won four times – 1999 at Medinah; 2000 at Valhalla; 2006, again at Medinah; and 2007 at Southern Hills. His most recent start was last season at Bellerive, where he finished second to Brooks Koepka.
HISTORY AT BETHPAGE BLACK
2002 – Woods won his second U.S. Open title, going wire-to-wire. He opened with a 67 to take a one-shot lead, followed by a 68 that gave him a three-shot lead over Padraig Harrington. A third-round even-par 70 left him with a four-shot advantage over Sergio Garcia. His final-round 72 left him at 3 under for the tournament – the only player under par for the week. Phil Mickelson was second at even par.
2009 – Woods finished tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, doing well to climb back into the mix after an opening 74 that left him 10 shots off the lead. Rounds of 68-69 left him tied for 15th entering the final round. He carded a 69 to finish the four days at even par – four shots behind the winner, Lucas Glover.
2012 – In the opening event of the FedExCup Playoffs, Woods tied for 38th at the tournament now known as THE NORTHERN TRUST. Woods opened with 68-69 but fell off the pace with a 72-76 weekend to finish at 1 over for the four rounds.
Tiger will tee off Thursday at 8:24 a.m. ET off the 10th tee and 1:49 p.m. ET off the first tee on Friday’s second round. His playing partners are Brooks Koepka and Francesco Molinari.
TIGER DISCUSSES BETHPAGE BLACK
“In order to win this one, driving is going to be at the forefront. With the rough as lush as it is, it has grown up a little bit. I don't know how much they're going to cut it down or top it off, but it won't be much.
“Fairways are plenty wide because it's wet. It's just you've got to hit it not only straight but you've got to hit it far because, as the week goes on and the greens dry out, the majority of the greens are elevated, and so trying to get enough spin, hitting the ball up to elevation with the greens firming up, you have to be in the fairway to do that.”
GOLF CHANNEL ANALYSTS ON TIGER
BRANDEL CHAMBLEE: “The word straight has been thrown around a lot in the media center this week. Particularly by Tiger Woods today. This week, long and straight will matter most. The winner will more than likely come from the top-10 in driving accuracy. And that is sort of an antiquated statistic when you start looking at the way players drive the golf ball almost with immunity to missing fairways. But not here. Not this week.”
DAVID DUVAL: “I just wonder if knowing his history and knowing who he is, if he might not go ahead and hit a lot more 3-woods than people think. Knowing that he’s such a premier iron player, I don’t think he’s going to be pounding drivers everywhere. But the precision with which he hits his irons is going to give him a huge advantage around this golf course. He’s paying attention to all these little factors that add up to victory.”
FRANK NOBILO: “Listening to some of his words, I think he’s playing a little possum there with the guys. ‘Hey, it’s a long golf course.’ Fairway finding is huge. But if you’re the greatest iron player, why play to your weakness? Why hit the driver?”
OTHER PLAYERS ON TIGER
RORY McILROY: “I still don't think people understand what he did in April and coming back, and with everything that he's been through. It's unbelievable. Whether it's the greatest comeback in sports, that's probably up for debate, but from what I've experienced and the things that he said when I've been around him, to be two and a half years ago from looking like maybe not playing golf again to winning the first major of the year and being the favorite going into the second major of the year, I mean, that's unbelievable.”
BROOKS KOEPKA: “I don't see it as a rivalry, although it is fun to play against him, best player to ever play the game. You guys want to talk about rivalry, I think that's pretty cool to hear. It's exciting for me. But I'm just looking forward to this week, to playing with him. It'll be interesting. … We haven't been paired together too much, especially over the last couple years. He's been in the group in front or group behind. It'll definitely be interesting.”