Leading up to the PGA Championship, we'll offer up our thoughts on some of the game's best players and their chances to win at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course. We kick things off with a four-time PGA Championship winner who's looking to end a four-year-plus major championship drought.
His 2012 so far: If we were talking about any golfer not named Tiger Woods, three wins at Bay Hill, Muirfield Village and Congressional would be considered a banner season. However, since we're talking about Woods, the fact that he has three wins and one isn't a major means it's just another great year. Aside from his three wins, he's also posted a second, third and six top 10's. That's the good news. The not-so-good news is his major record this year. Throw out the T-3 at the British Open and Woods has a T-40 at the Masters and T-21 the U.S. Open. He's certainly produced on the PGA Tour, but when it comes time to produce at the majors, he's fallen flat.
His record at the PGA Championship: Sterling. In 15 PGA Championship starts, he has four wins and three top-5 finishes, which is about as good as it gets. But even with the impressive record, it's hard to overlook the fact that Woods finished T-28 in 2010 and missed the cut at Atlanta Athletic Club last year.
Why he could win: Just look at his tee-to-green stats from last week. Woods finished first in the field in ball-striking and inside the top-10 in driving distance and greens in regulations. Everyone questioned how he'd handle playing Firestone with a driver in his hand, but after a week of watching him thrive with the big stick on a course that plays 7,400 yards, you get the feeling the driver won't be the big question mark. Assuming he shows up with the same game, he could be a serious contender at the almost 7,700-yard Ocean Course.
Why he could fall short: His putting improved over the weekend; however, it's difficult to see Woods being much of a factor if he averages more than 30 putts for the week, like he did at the Bridgestone. His short game is still a mess, and his wedge play from 125 yards and in is about as reliable you or me pulling off a Mickelson-esque flop shot. It's nearly impossible to win a major when you can't convert with your scoring clubs. Throw in the fact that he's failed to break par on the weekend in every major this year and you have a guy who's still trying to find his groove when it matters.
Our take: Woods showed us a little something over the weekend at the Bridgestone, but he's been wildly erratic at the majors. Simply put, you just can't trust the guy to show up with his A-game and pick up his 15th major. The major championship drought continues with another top-10 finish at Kiawah.
And you? What's your take on Tiger Woods' chances this week?
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