By: David Lamm
Most bookmakers have Tiger Woods as the favorite to win this week’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black on Long Island. I’ve seen the odds as low as 7-to-1, a ridiculous number for a professional golf tournament.
It has the sports world buzzing.
Can Tiger win his second major this year during his remarkable comeback? Can he pull within two of Jack Nicklaus’ seemingly unbreakable record of 18 professional majors?
Making Tiger the favorite makes sense. He’s won his last two big tournaments, the 2018 Tour Championship and this year’s Masters.
And, the bookmakers point out, he’s returning to long, nasty, Bethpage Black which he overpowered in winning the 2002 U.S. Open.
Okay, now it’s time to pump the breaks on Tiger’s chances this week. He’s not the same player he was in 2002 at the height of his dominance. He doesn’t overpower any course at 43 and with a rebuilt body. And now it seems everybody on Tour can smash it 20-30 yards past Tiger.
Also, consider that Lucas Glover won the 2009 Open at Bethpage Black at 4-under 276. That’s one better than Woods’ winning score and Lucas has never been considered a “bomber.”
Nick Watney and Patrick Reed won when the PGA Tour played the Barclays there in 2012 and 2016. Neither is near the top in driving distance, then or now.
This year’s PGA Championship, like most Tour events, comes down to who plays the best and makes the most putts.
I’m pulling for Tiger but don’t bet the rent money on him.