Els Seeks Third Leg of Career Grand Slam. Woods Looks to Rebound After Muirfield Misfortune. David Wants to be Goliath Again. Will Mickelson Finally Get His Fill at Hazeltine? Another Major Surprise?
The seasons final major takes place this week at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. Its the sixth time the venue has hosted a major championship. Tony Jacklin won the 1970 U.S. Open at Hazeltine, while Payne Stewart did the same in 1991.
Sandra Spuzich won the first major title at this site, in the 1966 U.S. Women's Open, while Hollis Stacy triumphed when the Open returned in '77.
Billy Casper prevailed in the 1983 U.S. Senior Open at Hazeltine.
The par-72 course will play 7,360 yards. Three of the par-5s measure in excess of 585 yards, with the third hole a tournament-record 636.
It marked Toms first major title, and Mickelsons fifth top-three in a major without a win. The lefthander has since finished third at this years Masters and second in the U.S. Open. He enters the PGA 0-41 in majors played.
Being that this is the first time in 11 years that Hazeltine has hosted a major, several players in the field will be using the first three days to grow accustomed to the layout.
Toms and Woods have already had a sneak peak. Toms played the course on a media day in July and shot 3-under 69.
I know its going to be different, Toms said of the course conditions once the event starts, the greens were not very fast, the rough wasnt up like its going to be and there were no grandstands ' no people.
Woods didnt keep score in his 2 -hour drive-by last Tuesday with Mark OMeara.
More than anything, Hazeltine is a driving golf course. You have to get the ball in play, Woods said. With the rough being up and the greens probably firming up, youve got to get the ball in play in order to attack and make some birdies.
Woods and company will have to re-adjust their games from keeping it under the winds off the Firth of Forth to landing the ball softly onto the greens in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
All of us who played over there started hitting the ball a little lower, little lower, little lower, and sometimes its a little difficult to let it go and get the path and release and get the ball up in the air again, Woods said.
Woods also stated there shouldnt be any tremors remaining from his Saturday earthquake at Muirfield.
The next day I was ready to go. I think the score would indicate that, too, said Woods, who shot a final-round 65. You know, golf is one of those things, youve got to put it out of your head and move on. Its a sport. Its not life or death.'
Woods has won seven of the last 12 majors contested, and fine-tuned his game last week with a win in the Buick Open, though he did battle his swing over the weekend. He will now try and become the first player since Lee Trevino, 31 years ago, to win a regular tour stop and a major championship in back-to-back weeks.
'From what I've heard, some people expect me to have a letdown (at the PGA), which I find amusing. I look at it this way: How can you have a letdown? It's a major championship, and the last one of the year.'
Ernie Els officially killed Tigers Grand Slam run. He said he celebrated with two-time Open champion Nick Price by drinking champagne out of the Claret Jug.
The fruits of victory were sweet, despite the fact that the South African almost spoiled his chance for major No. 3.
Els squandered a three-stroke lead on the back nine Sunday, and won a four-way playoff with five pars.
It might not have been the prettiest of wins, but (I) got it behind me. I think it was a major step, said Els, who also admitted that: If Tiger played on the level that he normally plays I probably would have come in second again. But I found myself there and I took my opportunity, let me put it that way.
I think thats what the guys have to try and do; when it comes your way, you have to try and grab it.
Thats exactly what 155 players will try and do this week at Tiger's expense.
Full coverage of the 84th PGA Championship