KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — Tiger Woods has always measured his success based largely on how he fares in the major championships. Since he has gone more than four years without one, a three-win season heading into this week’s PGA Championship on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island will have to suffice.
Considering that he hadn’t won any kind of PGA Tour event for more than two years before he broke through at Bay Hill, he is viewing his tour-leading three wins, and the top spot on both the money list and points list, as nice building blocks. Others agree, since he is considered the favorite here.
“I think I’ve progressed this year over my last couple of years, and I’m very pleased with what I’ve done,” Woods said. “This is the way I can hit the golf ball, this is the way I can play. It’s nice to be able to do the things that I know I can do.”
Twice before (1999, 2007) Woods has arrived at the PGA Championship without a major win that year, then ended the season with a bang. He is hoping to do the same at the Ocean Course and end the longest major drought of his career.
“I’ve played in three major championships this year, and I didn’t win any of them,” Woods said. “I was there at the US Open after two days [he tied for 21st] and I was right there with a chance at the British Open [tied for third]. Things have progressed, but still, not winning a major championship doesn’t feel very good.”
Watson all set up
Bubba Watson can finally focus on golf, with the adoption of his son, Caleb, finally becoming official Monday. Watson and his wife, Angie, picked up Caleb earlier this year, but needed to see the lengthy process through. “The adoption is final, so that’s the most important thing. Now we’re on to trying to win this tournament,” said Watson, who won the Masters in April and was second at the PGA Championship in 2010 at Whistling Straits, losing a playoff to Martin Kaymer. With some similarities to Whistling Straits, the Ocean Course could set up well for Watson.
Late starting time
Roger Chapman, a 53-year-old from England, is competing in his first PGA Championship thanks to his victory in the Senior PGA (he also won the US Senior Open, which gets him into next year’s US Open). An unexpected journey was delayed even more when he boarded a plane at London’s Heathrow Airport Sunday afternoon. What was supposed to be a short stop in Washington, D.C., turned into a 14-hour layover, with the flight finally canceled. So Chapman and a few others booked flights into Savannah, Ga., then drove two hours to Kiawah. Oh, and the airline misplaced Chapman’s golf bag and luggage, so he didn’t get a look at the golf course until Tuesday . . . Two storms rumbled through Tuesday, bringing heavy rain, plenty of thunder, and two stoppages in play on what is typically the busiest practice day of the week. The first delay was for 65 minutes, the second 75 minutes. The Ocean Course drains well, but this week’s forecast isn’t promising: Rain is expected every day . . . Who has the longest current streak of consecutive major appearances? That would be Sergio Garcia, who has played in 54 straight, dating to the 1999 British Open.