Woods Drive for PGA Starts at Buick


2005 Buick OpenThere are certain venues dominated by Tiger Woods. There is, of course, St. Andrews, where two weeks ago Woods captured his second British Open title ' both of which came on the Old Course.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is much more comfortable with his game than a year ago at this time.
There is Augusta National, where Woods has won four Masters Tournaments. There are also Bay Hill, Torrey Pines, Muirfield Village and Firestone ' all of which Woods has conquered on at least three occasions.
Then there are the second level venues, on which Woods hasnt won quite as often, but nonetheless has a great deal of comfort and success.
One of the layouts in that latter group is Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, site of this weeks Buick Open.
In seven prior starts in this event, Woods has four top-5 finishes, including three in a row. After skipping the tournament in 2001, Woods has finished first-second-third over the last three Buick Open contests.
A year ago, he fired four sub-70 rounds, but still fell two strokes shy of winner Vijay Singh.
For the fourth straight year, this will be Tigers lone tournament between the Open Championship and PGA Championship. But unlike on the previous three occasions, Woods arrives in Grand Blanc, Mich., as the Champion Golfer of the Year.
And he arrives with much more confidence concerning the state of his game.
I think I'm starting to play a little bit better, Woods said prior to last years Buick Open.
Its close, he said ' a phrase he repeated time and time again in 2004.
Now, its there.
I've been criticized for years now, for the last couple of years, he said after winning the Open by five strokes. Why would I change my game? This is why. First, second and first in the last three majors, that's why.
While this may be a different Tiger Woods from that of a year ago, Vijay Singh finds himself in a similar position to where he was last year at this time ' chasing Tiger.
Singh was able to catch and surpass Woods in 2004 due in large part to his late season surge, which all began with his victory in this event.
After dispatching of Woods and John Daly to earn his second Buick Open title, Singh went on to win the PGA Championship, Deutsche Bank Championship, Bell Canadian Open, 84 Lumber Classic and Chrysler Championship.
That final push made him the undisputed No. 1 player in the world, and earned him his first Player of the Year award and his second straight money title.
Singh has three victories thus far this season, but none since the Wachovia Championship eight starts ago.
He and Woods are the only men to have finished inside the top 10 in all three majors this year. But while Woods has a pair of victories to show for his efforts, Singh has yet to finish within five of the winner.
A repeat victory this week would not only give him some much needed momentum heading to his title defense at the PGA Championship in two weeks, it would also make him just the second player to win this event in back-to-back years.
The late Tony Lema won the Buick Open in 1964 and 65. Julius Boros is the only man other than Lema and Singh to have won this tournament twice, doing so in 1963 and 67.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Buick Open