Tiger Woods hasn't won a major championship since the 2008 U.S. Open. Will that streak end in 2011? GolfChannel.com senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell weigh in.
By REX HOGGARD
Tiger Woods will win a major in 2011, but not because he’s due. He’ll win because he’s doing what it takes.
Just ask Hunter Mahan – he’s had as good a seat as anyone to the game’s most engrossing reclamation project.
“Just look at him,” Mahan said on Sunday at the Chevron World Challenge as the world No. 2 prepared to hit his approach shot into the 72nd hole. “The way he practices it, practices it, wow. You can tell a win means a lot right now.”
Woods didn’t get the win – that went to Graeme McDowell, although he did rope that approach to 3 feet for birdie – and Mahan’s point seems apropos as we consider Woods’ Grand Slam chances.
Many agree Woods’ work with swing coach Sean Foley is producing solid returns and, perhaps more importantly, a renewed desire for perfection.
“The way I'm playing right now I would like to continue playing,” Woods said at Chevron. “I'm also excited about my practice sessions coming up.”
Not exactly the gutted words of an embattled star. And 2011 isn’t exactly a bare Grand Slam canvas. Woods has history, recent and otherwise, at Augusta National (four green jackets) and Congressional (’09 AT&T National), site of this year’s U.S. Open. He also has a history of finding answers, which is why major No. 15 awaits in 2011.
By RANDALL MELL
Tiger Woods will win the PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club in his lone major championship victory this year.
It will be as emotional as his first Masters victory in 1997, when he embraced his father afterward in tears, and as emotional as his British Open title at Royal Liverpool in ’06, when he wept in Stevie Williams’ arms remembering the loss of his father, and as emotional as his ’08 U.S. Open triumph at Torrey Pines on a blown-out knee. It will be ultra emotional because he will have overcome more than he has in any victory in his career.
Winning in Atlanta will mark the end of a run of 13 majors without a Tiger title.
It will be good for Woods, and it will be great for the game.
Woods says he doesn’t want to be as good as he was at his best. He wants to be better. It’s impossible to fathom, but if he rebounds that strong, he will win every major this year. Nobody could beat a Tiger who rises above the level he reached in 2000-01. More likely, though, the game will be harder for Woods. And more players will rise up the way Y.E. Yang did at Hazeltine at the PGA Championship in ’09 and Graeme McDowell did at the Chevron World Challenge last month.