SAN FRANCISCO — The closing predict posed to Tiger Woods in his pre-match press conference Tuesday at Harding Park in attain of this week’s PGA Championship obtained right here from a reporter who requested him, “Can you bewitch this week?’’
“Clearly,’’ Woods said with a gargantuan smile.
And unbiased right fancy that, Woods’ predict-and-reply session was as quickly as over earlier than somebody might perchance more than likely get cling of a predict to this remember-up predict: “What makes you watched that?’’
On epic of there are a host of things conspiring to invent this a doubtlessly-subtle week for Woods to achieve success — whether or not success is measured by a success the match, contending or merely making the prick.
Let’s start with the fact that by the point he tees off his opening spherical alongside Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas on Thursday, Woods can take in performed 4 match rounds of golf throughout the earlier 170 days. He’s performed in solely three tournaments in 2020.
Add into that equation the climate this week in San Francisco is anticipated to be cool (60s) and damp (fog, mist marine layer), particularly throughout the mornings. And Woods’ 44-year-used surgically-repaired physique prefers the searing warmth and suffocating humidity he performs in at dwelling in South Florida.
Add to that the fact that there are a dozen youthful, higher-match star players who’re getting into this week in excessive manufacture, origin with newly-minted No. 1-ranked Thomas, Brooks Koepka, who seems to soak up came across his manufacture unbiased right in time to slide for a 3-peat at the PGA this week, McIlroy, who many think about to be the perfect all-spherical participant throughout the area, Jon Rahm, who unbiased right gained Memorial and was as quickly as No. 1 earlier than Thomas wrested it away alongside along with his bewitch Sunday in Memphis.
That’s completely the fast listing of players who determine to excel earlier than Woods. These components determine to be properly-identified hurdles for Woods to beat to engage his 16th career helpful championship this week.
Certain, Woods has a worthwhile historical past at Harding Park, the construct aside he gained the WGC-American Declare in 2005, beating John Daly in a playoff, and going undefeated throughout the 2009 Presidents Cup.
However that Woods and this Woods are different beings. That Woods was as quickly as the perfect participant throughout the area again then. This Woods has a balky again and performs match golf about as generally because the Augusta Nationwide members enable unaccompanied firm to play.
On the alternative hand, this was as quickly as Woods’ overview of himself on Tuesday: “I really feel right,’’ he said.
“Clearly, I haven’t performed important competitively, however I’ve been enjoying masses at dwelling, so I’ve been getting a whole lot of reps that plot,’’ he went on. “(I’m) unbiased right trying to obtain my plot again into this allotment of the season. Proper here is what I’ve been gearing up for. We’ve obtained a host of tall occasions ranging from right here, so having a remember ahead to it.
“Proper right here goes to be a enjoyable take a look at for all of us. The robust is up. Fairways are plot extra slim than that they had been right here in 2009.’’
What concerning the bodily challenges with the projected cool climate?
“For me when it’s cooler fancy this, it’s unbiased right making particular that my core stays warmth, layering up correctly,’’ Woods said. “I do know I gained’t take in the an identical vary of movement as I might again dwelling in Florida the construct aside it’s 95 on every day foundation. That’s unbiased right the plot it’s far.
“The ball doesn’t fly very far right here. I’ve identified that from the full years and circumstances I’ve wanted to qualify up on this enviornment (whereas enjoying faculty golf at inside attain Stanford). It’s at all times 20 levels cooler right here than it’s far down there in Palo Alto. I deem the climate forecast is meant to be fancy this all week: Marine layer, cool, windy, and we’re all going to should type out it.’’
Woods said he felt “very obsessed on some changes I’ve made’’ whereas training at dwelling whereas, pointless to narrate, declining to document them.
Requested what he obtained out of his 4 rounds at the Memorial about a weeks in the past, his completely match golf since he achieved closing at the Genesis Begin at Riviera in February, Woods said, “Larger than something, I had no longer had the aggressive circulation. I’ve been competing at dwelling … however that’s so different than it’s far out right here enjoying competitively in a match environment.
“Being affected individual is one among the items that I was as quickly as real overjoyed with out there, battling laborious as I did to invent the prick. I birdied two of the closing three holes and made an plentiful par putt on 9 (his closing gap in Friday’s 2nd spherical). These are all certain issues I remember again on.’’
However will they be enough to eat him into the winner’s circle this week?