Tiger Woods was locked in in a historic way this weekend at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio. Tiger shot a 9-under-par 61 on Friday, matching his career-best round, to give himself a commanding seven-stroke lead he would not relinquish over the weekend. Friday was a sublime day for Tiger on the course, he seemingly did not miss a putt. All of his shots were accurate and landed in the middle of the fairways, all of his chips set him up for easy putt outs by the pin.
If you’re wondering why this was such a big deal, it’s because this was Tiger’s best round since 2005! Putting and an inability to come through on the weekend have been Tiger’s biggest problems on tour so far this year. However, staked to a nearly insurmountable seven-stroke lead, Tiger played it safe and consistent the rest of the weekend. He shot a 2-under-par 68 on Saturday and an even-par 70 on Sunday to maintain his massive lead and earn his 79th career victory. Although Tiger has been in a majors drought, and whether or not he’ll catch Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors has been in question, this win placed Tiger only three behind Sam Snead for most tour victories of all time. Tiger now has 79, Snead has 82.
Although Tiger hasn’t won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open, he has been winning other tournaments on a very consistent basis. Tiger has won 5 of his last 11 tournaments, placing in the top 10 in two other tournaments this year. Those other two being the Masters’ and the Open Championship. Oh, and of course, Tiger remains the world’s number one ranked golfer, by a hefty margin too. In case you were wondering, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, and Adam Scott round out the top five.
Speaking of majors, next week is the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. Although Tiger’s putting was at its best this weekend at the Bridgestone, it has been an Achilles’ heel lately. In fact, Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News seems to think putting at Oak Hill will be Tiger’s undoing this coming weekend.
Tiger’s dominant win has clearly put him as the odds-on favorite to win the PGA Championship. Tiger Woods is the only golfer whom you would actually pick to win a tournament over the field. In fact, the only real reason this article is being written is because Tiger Woods won, and that makes golf interesting. The PGA Championship is probably the most forgettable of golf’s four major championships. However, with Tiger’s impressive weekend, the PGA Championship just got all that more interesting.
Rory McIlroy is the defending PGA Championship winner. The tournament has been won by a hodge-podge of guys over recent years such as Keegan Bradley, Martin Kaymer, and Y.E. Yang. Tiger most recently won the PGA Championship in 2007 at Southern Hills in Tulsa.
Mr. Bondy of the Daily News is right, putting will be the key for Tiger to winning another major this weekend. It will be the key for whoever wins. Tiger had a monster weekend at Firestone, if he can carry that over with strong putting, there’s no reason to bet against him. But, anybody, can have a big round. Keegan Bradley will be in Tiger’s group with Davis Love III when they tee off Thursday morning. Nobody bet on Bradley to win the PGA Championship when he did so in 2011.
Golf’s final major tees off on Thursday. Woods or the field? It’s tough to call, but if Woods is near the top of the leaderboard over the weekend, I bet you’ll be way more compelled to watch.