Woods, whose Tiger Woods Foundation is the primary charitable benefactor of this event, wont be handing out any free advice to his adversary, but to find the key to winning, all OHair need do is check out some statistics.
Each of the two tournament champions led the field in greens hit in regulation. Adam Scott did so when he won in 2003, and Vijay Singh did the same en route to victory in 04.
But while iron accuracy is significant, so too is driving power on the par-71, 7,415-yard layout.
Last year, the top 6 players in the field in terms of driving distance all finished inside the top 12 in the tournament. That included winner Singh, runners-up Scott and Woods, and Daniel Chopra, who tied for fourth.
Currently, there are six players who rank inside the top 20 on the PGA Tour in both driving distance and greens hit in regulation.
And only one of them is in this weeks field: Woods.
Five for the Title:
Since missing the cut at the Byron Nelson, Woods has yet to finish outside the top 4 in an event. That includes victories in the Open Championship and in his most recent start, the WGC-NEC Invitational. This being Tigers tournament, since it benefits his foundation, Woods would love to add this trophy to his collection. He tied for seventh in the inaugural event in 2003 and tied for second a year ago. This is most likely one of just four remaining official, individual events for Tiger in 2005. He has five victories on the year, and has his sights set on running the table, which would tie his nine-win season of 2000.
Davis Love III
Despite some significant and positive changes to the TPC of Boston course for the 2004 tournament, many recognizable names are skipping the event. The first two editions featured players like 03 champ Scott, Darren Clarke, Jim Furyk, David Toms, Stewart Cink and Stuart Appleby. None of those players are in attendance this week, including Scott, who said he just needed a break.
Only three of the top 15 players in the world are in this years field. In addition to Woods and Singh, there is Love. It will be Loves first appearance in the tournament, and one of only a handful of opportunities to avoid his second straight winless season. He has plenty of length to compete on this venue; his confidence may be the key to his contending.
Daly, who tied for second last week at the BMW International Open in Germany, obviously has the power to be a factor at the TPC of Boston. Daly also has an affinity for the sponsor, finishing T3 at the Deutsche Bank Players' Championship of Europe the week after the Open Championship. Daly tied for 37th in last years event in Boston.
Faxon, a native New Englander, lives about 30 minutes from the course in Barrington, R.I. Faxon represents the TPC of Boston and has served as a player-consultant. Even though he lacks raw power, Faxon has used his course knowledge and superb short game to tie for 24th in 2003 and tie for ninth in 2004. He won last week's Buick Championship with a final-round 61 for his first tour victory since 2001.
Playing Out the Front Nine
Four more to keep and eye on
*Brett Wetterich, who ranks third on tour in driving distance. Wetterich is also in the top 40 in greens hit in regulation, and as we know, thats the winning combination on this venue.
*Tim Petrovic, who has a pair of top-10s since his maiden victory in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He is a native of Northampton, Mass., and has finished inside the top 25 in each of his two Deutsche Bank starts.
*David Duval, who tied for 13th in this tournament a year ago. Duval hasnt made a cut in 15 starts this season. His showing here a year ago, however, was his best performance since the 2002 Invensys Classic at Las Vegas.
* Vijay Singh, who will not be able to defend the title he won last year by birdieing three of the last four holes. Singh withdrew on Tuesday citing back spasms caused by an injury that occurred while he was playing table tennis with his son at home.