Tiger Woods may have already won the PGA Championship

By Rex HoggardAugust 13, 2009, 4:00 pm
CHASKA, Minn. ' As widely foretold, the 91st PGA Championship has quickly been condensed into the Tiger & the Bombers Show, with special guest Paul Goydos.
 
Just when it was starting to appear as if Supermans cape was slightly askew, when the forewarning of the Tune-up Slam would translate into something less than pure dominance, Tiger Woods hits fairways and greens and every putt that matters for a stress-free stroll that added up to a 5-under 67 and a one-stroke lead. He came by it honestly on the longest thing this side of an Alvaro Quiros drive.
 
Tiger Woods PGA Championship
Playing Hazeltine National was no sweat for Tiger Woods Thursday. (Getty Images)
Welcome to TW National ' sprawling with no surprises and generous fairways, at least by major championship standards, and the perfect tonic for Woods Grand Slam woes.
 
They dont hand out the Wanamaker Trophy on Thursday, but the engraver may want to start etching given the world No. 1s performance on a gray, breezy Thursday.
 
This is not a slight to the assembled millionaires at Hazeltine National, but if a hole in Woods PGA Championship resume exists it is a sometimes scruffy opening effort.
 
In his four PGA Championship victories, Woods has held the Day 1 lead just once (2000) and was no better than 11th in his other three victory laps. In 11 PGAs, his opening-round scoring average is 70.9, more than a stroke higher than his second- and third-round averages and well more than his final loops (70.27).
 
Just keep yourself around, you dont have to be eight ahead after the first round, thats not it, said Woods, who picked apart the Minnesota marshmallow by hitting 12 fairways, 15 greens in regulation and 29 putts. Just keep plodding along because major championships are set up so theyre difficult. They beat you into making mistakes.
 
Not that it really matters to Woods. Like his athletically dominant equal Lance Armstrong, he cares little about yellow jerseys after the first stage.
 
And as impressive as his record is when spotted the odd stroke, hes not automatic. He led after Day 1 at the 1998 PGA following an opening 66 only to fade with rounds of 72-70-71 and is 4-for-6 in majors after holding the first-round lead and 13-for-24 in his Tour career.
 
But those are the exceptions to the rule, particularly when hes churning out seemingly generic gems like he did on Thursday. The closest he came to a bogey was a 6 footer at the first hole (his tenth hole of the day) that he calmly holed much like he did at the fifth for par from 4 feet and 3 feet for birdie and the outright lead at the seventh.
 
All of which begs the question, when 4 and 5 footers dont register concern what is left to rock the boat? Missed fairways, an often trotted out critique of Woods game? He hit a little more than half of Firestones table tops last week and didnt seem to have much trouble hauling in Tour tilt No. 70.
 
Its just how efficient he was today, said Rich Beem, the third member of Thursdays box office smash three-ball. There was nothing crazy. He never looked like he would make a bogey. It was easy.
 
At 7,674 yards Hazeltine National was dubbed a bombers paradise and the Robert Trent Jones layout stayed on topic on Thursday with a leaderboard straight out of a bomb-and-gouge casting call. Just behind Woods and Padraig Harrington is Robert Allenby (43rd on Tour in driving distance) Hunter Mahan (33rd), Quiros (who stunned Woods with a driver-driver combo to reach the unreachable 11th green in two shots) and . . . well, Goydos.
 
Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, 5,000 iHops, or so it seems, and 155 of the worlds best players left putting into the grain.
 
Its kind of ominous. Hes got a pretty good track record (when leading), Beem said.
 
There was a light that peaked through the clouds and onto the rolling farm country, however. The PGA Championship is not over, Harrington will make sure of that.
 
After clearing up the final piece of his swing reconstruction on Sunday at Turnberry with swing coach Bob Torrance, the Irishman didnt seem put out at all by his unsightly finish at Firestone and Thursday at Hazeltine National quickly became Paddy vs. Woods Part Deux, sans the stopwatch.
 
I asked (Harrington) if he was bothered when Tiger caught him after seven holes (on Sunday at Firestone)? said Dr. Bob Rotella, Harringtons sports psychologist. He said, Bothered? No. I loved the way I was playing.
 
Almost as much as he loves going head-to-head with Woods, who has an affinity for Harringtons work ethic and dedication to improvement.
 
If youre playing with Tiger Woods youre doing well, said Harrington, alone in second place after a 68. If you dont want to be in that spot, you shouldnt be playing golf.
 
More so than any of the antagonist who have challenged Woods over the years, Harrington has the swing and resolve to play with him at his best. Of course, given Woods first-round effort Harrington will need to be at his best to keep this showdown from becoming a one-man show.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - PGA Championship
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

    Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Getty Images

    Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

    Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

    The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.