Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tiger and McIlroy in ‘deep end’ early in duel for 100th US PGA



Tiger and McIlroy in ‘deep end’ early in duel for 100th US PGA

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy prepare to play off the tenth tee during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2015. AFP

Tiger and McIlroy in ‘deep end’ early in duel for 100th US PGA

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, past major winners trying to rise once more from contenders to champions, tee off side-by-side when the 100th PGA Championship starts on Thursday.

Woods, eight months into a comeback from spinal fusion surgery, and McIlroy, seeking his first major win since the 2014 PGA, will be joined by defending champion Justin Thomas for the first two days over the 7,316-yard, par-70 Bellerive Country Club layout.

“You certainly get thrown at the deep end straight away in a group like that,” McIlroy said. “I guess it focuses you straight away. It’s going to be a big atmosphere out there and I’m looking forward to that.”

That trio and top-ranked Dustin Johnson are oddsmakers favourites for the year’s last major event on a rain-softened course where length will help but second shots into tight landing areas will be critical.

“It’s advantageous for the guys who hit the ball in the air and can carry it a long way. I just need to be able to do that,” Woods said. “If you’re able to hit the ball well and put the ball in the right sections, you’ll see a bunch of birdies. If you don’t, you’ll see the field get separated pretty quickly.”

Woods, a 14-time major champion, has not won a major since the 2008 US Open and hasn’t won any event since the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational.

But he fired his lowest final round in five years to take fourth in June at the PGA National and led in the British Open final round before sharing sixth at Carnoustie.

“He had to learn how to move again. He had to learn how to swing. I mean, 18 months ago the guy couldn’t walk,” McIlroy said. “To get to this point is a phenomenal achievement already.

“If he could go ahead and win another major with his fifth golf swing, I mean, that’s unbelievable.”

Fifth-ranked McIlroy has five top-10 showings in the past nine majors, sharing second at last month’s British Open and fifth at the Masters.

“The only thing I haven’t done is win enough,” McIlroy said. “I’ve given myself a lot of chances. I played in a lot of final groups and I haven’t played well enough when it has counted.”

Spieth seeks Career Slam

Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth will make his second try at completing a Career Grand Slam after sharing 28th last year at Quail Hollow. He would join Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen in the feat with a victory.

“It will always be circled to complete the career Grand Slam, which will achieve a life-long goal for me, so certainly emphasis in my head on it, but nothing overpowering,” Spieth said.

Eighth-ranked Spieth could become the first to finish the Career Slam at a PGA and do it on the same course where South Africa’s Player did by winning the 1965 US Open.

“It’s a great position to be in,” said McIlroy, who needs the Masters to complete his own Career Slam. “He’s shown over the past few years he’s mentally very good, so I’m sure he won’t have a problem.”

A field with 98 of the world’s 100 top players sees reigning major champions Brooks Koepka (US Open), Patrick Reed (Masters) and Francesco Molinari (British Open) grouped together only a wet layout.

Target golf at Bellerive

“It’s going to be the quintessential target golf,” McIlroy said. “Where your ball lands is where it’s going to really stay.”

That could reduce some edge for big hitters.

“Even though it’s going to be softer and wet, it’s got the potential for I think anybody to work their way up the board,” Spieth said.

MOST VIEWED

  • First Cambodian woman graduates from Japan’s NDA military academy

    A few years ago, Meach Sithyka Jessica became the first-ever Cambodian woman to graduate from the US Military Academy at West Point, and since then her courage and determination has served as an inspiration for other Cambodian women. Similarly, Ly Chansocheata became the first Cambodian

  • Construction begins on $1.5B Kampot seaport

    The International Multi-Purpose Logistics and Port Centre, principally invested by Kampot Logistics and Port Co Ltd and projected to cost $1.5 billion, has officially broken ground in Bokor town, Kampot province. The multi-purpose logistics and port centre, located in Prek Tnaot commune, will be built on

  • Cambodia eyes key role in electronics, auto hubs in SEA

    Two roadmaps, part of the LDC’s economic diversification plan, were designed to see it through its migration process, but experts say the journey might be arduous, particularly in the presence of two established hubs in the region By 2028, Cambodia hopes to have exited the

  • Hun Neng, lawmaker and PM’s brother, passes away aged 72

    Hun Neng, chairman of the 4th Commission of the National Assembly, has passed away from heart disease at the age of 72 on the afternoon of May 5, according to the Ministry of Information. Hun Neng is the older brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and was

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM meets with US business giants

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has met with a number of major US companies who have expressed interest in investing in Cambodia, in a meeting convened by the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC). A delegation of companies – including Amazon, Meta, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Ford, Visa and Pernod