Four weeks later, Woods is back in action, playing in another tournament situated between a pair of majors. But this time no one is questioning anything in relation to Tigers mental or physical being.
Woods calculated and dominating victory at the Britisih Open left any doubt as to where he stands in the game today ' firmly at the top.
After missing the cut in the U.S. Open ' playing his first tournament in nine weeks due to the death of his father, Woods returned to action at the Western Open and promptly finished second. He then executed a perfect game plan to win at Royal Liverpool.
Having just claimed his third silver Claret Jug, Woods will try and win his third PGA Championship in two weeks. Before then, however, he will try and win his second Buick Open title.
Perhaps, he'll even use his driver a couple of times in doing so. He used the big stick only once over 72 holes in his triumph at Royal Liverpool.
Woods, who currently leads the PGA TOUR in wins (3) and earnings ($4,263,563), is hoping to add to both of those totals this week at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in Grand Blanc, Mich.
Though he has won the Buick Open only once (2002), Tiger has an amazing record here. He has finished inside the top 10 six times in seven career starts. His worst finish is a tie for 11th, and he has notched a top-3 each of the last four years.
Those numbers, combined with his impressive performance at Hoylake, make Woods the clear favorite to win this week.
Here are five other players hoping to deny him:
While Tiger is the odds-on favorite to claim victory, Singh just happens to be the two-time defending champion. He won by a stroke over John Daly in 2004, and then won by four over Woods and Zach Johnson a year ago. He also prevailed in 1997, making him the only three-time winner of this tournament. So why isnt he the favorite? Because Singh missed the cut at the British, and he blew a 54-hole lead in his previous start at the Western. He has a few more question marks concerning his game than does Woods.
Youve probably heard this one before: DiMarco has an inspirational tournament ' in which he doesnt win, but proves his grit ' and seems ready to finally win on TOUR for the first time in a long time. Well, here we go again. After giving Woods a run at Hoylake, DiMarco again seems primed to reel off his first win on TOUR since the 2002 Phoenix Open. He has played this tournament 10 times and has a pair of top-10s ' both runner-up finishes, of course (2001, 2003). He's healthy now, after injuring himself during a ski trip. Is this finally his time?
Heres a shocker: Furyk is a favorite in a summer-time event. In 11 career starts at Warwick Hills, Furyk has six top-10s, including a victory in 2003. He has only two finishes outside the top 20 and has never missed a cut. As for the current state of his game, the good news for Furyk is that he has finished inside the top 5 in each of his last three starts, which includes the U.S. Open and the British Open. The bad news is that he had a chance to win all of those tournaments and failed to do so.
This will be only Ogilvys second start since winning the U.S. Open, and his first non-major tournament. Ogilvy took an extended break after triumphing at Winged Foot and didnt return to action until the Open Championship, where he tied for tied for 16th. The Aussie has a solid record at Warwick Hills. Over the last three years, he has finished runner-up in 2003, tied for 18th in 2004, and tied for 12th last year.
There arent many tournaments anymore where Hart can actually feel like a contender, but this is one of them ' if he can finish the event. Over the last six years, Hart, who will turn 48 on Friday, has finished fifth (2005), T4 (2001) and T6 (2000). He has also missed the cut (2004) and twice withdrawn after the first round (2002, 03).