Tiger Woods will begin his first tournament round since his Masters win Thursday morning at the PGA Championship on Long Island. We’ll follow his progress throughout his first round here.
Woods will be teeing off at 8:24 a.m. in a threesome with Brooks Koepka and Francesco Molinari, starting on the back nine. Coverage of the featured groups will be streamed on PGA.com, and is also available on the tournament’s app. A stream is also available through B/R Live. Thursday’s television coverage begins at 1 p.m. on TNT.
Koepka has won two of the last four majors and three of the last seven he’s entered and is coming off a T-2 at the Masters. Molinari is the defending British Open champion and was leading this year’s Masters until he fell apart with seven holes left. He’s finished no worse than T-6 in the last three majors and also was devastating at last year’s Ryder Cup. Woods, as you may have heard, benefited from Molinari’s distress to win his fifth green jacket and 15th Grand Slam at Augusta last month.
Here’s what else you need to know about Woods entering the tournament.
He’s been on a break
For whatever reason — he said this week he “wasn’t ready yet to start the grind of practicing and preparing” — Woods has not played in a tournament since his Masters triumph, the fifth time in his career he has skipped everything on the schedule between grand slams. Here’s what happened on his previous four breaks:
1999: British Open (tied for 7th) –> PGA Championship (won)
2006: Masters (T-3) –> U.S. Open (missed the cut in his first tournament after the death of his father)
2008: Masters (2nd) –> U.S. Open (won after undergoing knee surgery; he would need another knee operation, this one ending his season, soon after)
2013: U.S. Open (T-32) –> British Open (T-6)
“Being well rested is more important than anything,” Joe LaCava, Woods’s caddie, told USA Today earlier this week. “And winning the Masters took a lot out of him. Playing another tournament, wherever it might have been, I don’t think it would have been a setback, but it would have taken a lot out of him. Probably wouldn’t have done him any good because he would have been too tired. When you’re tired, there’s no need to play.
“He’s happy. He’s in a good mood. He’s in good spirits. I think he misses playing. How can’t you be in good spirits when you just came off a major win? He’s relaxed and fresh. I love it.”
He’s done okay at Bethpage Black
Woods has played three tournaments at the infamous Long Island public course over his career, the first being a win at the 2002 U.S. Open when he led wire-to-wire and was the only player to finish the tournament under par. Seven years later in a waterlogged version of the same event, Woods couldn’t recover from a first-round 74 but still ended up in a tie for sixth, four shots behind winner Lucas Glover. Then, at the 2012 Barclays, Woods appeared to injure his knee and back during the second round and labored to a tie for 38th.
Yes, he has his yacht at the ready
Just as he did during last year’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills and at the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, Woods’s $20 million yacht “Privacy” is docked at Oyster Bay, about 13 miles from Bethpage Black. It’s been there since the beginning of the month, though Woods reportedly has been in the area only for a little more than a week.
Woods is also obeying a little-known tenet of maritime law that states that the owner of a preposterously large yacht must refer to it as a “dinghy.”
“Yeah, staying on the dinghy helps,” he said ahead of last year’s U.S. Open.
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