PGA Chamionship 2019: Still feeling the toll of his heroics, Tiger Woods braces for Bethpage behemoth

PGA Chamionship 2019: Still feeling the toll of his heroics, Tiger Woods braces for Bethpage behemoth

The storms hadn’t yet swept in, but there was still a rain of frenzy as Tiger Woods arrived in New York aboard his $18m yacht, ironically named “Privacy”, before sneaking into Bethpage Black for the first of his practice rounds in preparation for the PGA Championship.

Woods’ seismic victory at Augusta little over a month ago has left the golf world giddy, hungover and yearning for another hit of ecstasy and the tour’s decision to contort and cram its four majors into domino succession left little time to ponder.

For Woods though, the rollercoaster and catharsis of victory at The Masters has been far more draining, both mentally and physically, than he had initially imagined and he has been forced to make a concerted effort to skirt the tidal fanfare since, avoiding the media and savouring the real privacy of his own home to rest his “really sore” body.

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

From
15p
€0.18
$0.18
USD 0.27
a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras.

A late withdrawal from the Wells Fargo Championship immediately provoked rumours that he was once again struggling with injury – swiftly denied by his team – but Woods did admit upon his arrival in Long Island last week that he had “not been mentally prepared to return to the grind”. Behind that curtained aura, only he knows the toll his heroics at Augusta have truly taken on his 43-year-old frame and whether he has been allowed the necessary time to recharge and ready himself to summon them once again.

“Coming here is a different story [to Wells Fargo],” Woods insisted on Tuesday. “I was able to log in the hours, put in the time and feel rested and ready.”


Who will win the PGA Championship 2019?





1/26 Who will win the 2019 PGA Championship?

2/26 Jason Dufner

3/26 Henrik Stenson (SWE)

4/26 Paul Casey (ENG)

5/26 Hideki Matsuyama (JAP)

6/26 Patrick Reed (USA)

7/26 Matt Kuchar (USA)

8/26 Ian Poulter (ENG)

9/26 Tony Finau (USA)

10/26 Max Homa (USA)

11/26 Xander Schauffele (USA)

12/26 Phil Mickelson (USA)

13/26 Bubba Watson (USA)

14/26 Tommy Fleetwood (ENG)

15/26 Jason Day (AUS)

16/26 Justin Rose (ENG)

17/26 Jordan Spieth (USA)

18/26 Rickie Fowler (USA)

19/26 Justin Thomas (USA)

20/26 Francesco Molinari (ITA)

21/26 Jon Rahm (ESP)

22/26 Bryson DeChambeau (USA)

23/26 Dustin Johnson (USA)

24/26 Brooks Koepka (USA)

25/26 Rory McIlroy (NIR)

26/26 Tiger Woods (USA)

1/26 Who will win the 2019 PGA Championship?

2/26 Jason Dufner

3/26 Henrik Stenson (SWE)

4/26 Paul Casey (ENG)

5/26 Hideki Matsuyama (JAP)

6/26 Patrick Reed (USA)

7/26 Matt Kuchar (USA)

8/26 Ian Poulter (ENG)

9/26 Tony Finau (USA)

10/26 Max Homa (USA)

11/26 Xander Schauffele (USA)

12/26 Phil Mickelson (USA)

13/26 Bubba Watson (USA)

14/26 Tommy Fleetwood (ENG)

15/26 Jason Day (AUS)

16/26 Justin Rose (ENG)

17/26 Jordan Spieth (USA)

18/26 Rickie Fowler (USA)

19/26 Justin Thomas (USA)

20/26 Francesco Molinari (ITA)

21/26 Jon Rahm (ESP)

22/26 Bryson DeChambeau (USA)

23/26 Dustin Johnson (USA)

24/26 Brooks Koepka (USA)

25/26 Rory McIlroy (NIR)

26/26 Tiger Woods (USA)

It is only the seventh time in Woods 23-year professional career that he has not played a tournament inbetween majors — four of those being due to illness or injury – but this elite echelon of pitch up and play may now be the only way he can keep keep pace with the bunched up schedule.

“That’s going to be the interesting part going forward,” Woods continued. “How much do I play and how much do I rest? I think I’ve done a lot of the legwork and the hard work already, trying to find my game over the past year and a half. Now I think it’s just maintaining it.

“I know that I feel better when I’m fresh. The body doesn’t respond like it used to, doesn’t bounce back quite as well, so I have to be aware of that.’’

When Woods arrived at Bethpage in 2002 on the back of victory at the Masters, success wasn’t so much as expected but demanded. It was the sport he reshaped, sat upon and looked down as others merely took part. Thousands of New Yorkers had packed into the public course, exchanging whispers about the $75,000 Jacuzzi Woods had built in time for his arrival at the mansion he was renting. Only once he thrashed an unconvincing three-wood off the first tee was the tournament truly deemed to have begun. Four days later, and he was the victor by three shots with Phil Mickelson wheezing behind as though chasing a cloud of radiation.

There’s more of an ethereal quality to Woods’ appearance at Bethpage this time. The sense that repeated success wouldn’t be so much as to push reality but bend it over backwards. The Black Course is a formidable track of hairpin fairways and forest-length rough, supersized into a 7,400-yard length that demands more than the precise artistry of Augusta.

The course is a paradigm of the version of modern golf Woods created. A Venice Beach weights rack type of arena, increasingly leaning towards power and athleticism. In 2002, nobody could match Woods for those qualities. Now, the raw brawn of Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson are outdriving him by 20 yards and it is he who will be tentatively pushing at those fragile tendons to keep pace.

“Whether I’m dominant or not going forward, that remains to be seen,” Woods said. “What I know is I need to give myself the best chance to win the events that I play in, and sometimes that can be taking a little bit more breaks here and there and making sure that I am ready to go and being able to give it my best at those events.”

Slightly subdued, baseball cap tipped forwards to cast a shadow over his eyes at his final press conference, there was still a lingering tiredness about Woods, the sense that there was little energy he could afford to waste.

He last won back-to-back majors in 2006. By way of recent form, he will be in contention come Sunday. But to win at Bethpage of all places, he will have to push himself to the very finest of degrees and, perhaps, after embracing a well-deserved rest, his body might not be quite ready to throw another Hail Mary.

Source: Read Full Article