Woods chases more records in the US PGA Championship

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With Tiger Woods chasing yet more records, Rory McIlroy seeking a third title and Jordan Spieth trying to complete the career Grand Slam, there are stories everywhere to look forward to at 2019’s US PGA Championship.

The notoriously tough Bethpage Black on Long Island in New York will host the 101st staging of what is now golf’s second major of the year and the pundits have Woods as favourite following his Green Jacket victory at the Masters in April.

Woods walked into the media interview room at the PGA Championship on Tuesday clutching a cup of hot coffee.

He hopes to be holding something far more valuable on Sunday night – the Wanamaker Trophy awarded to the winner of the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.

Judging by his words, the 43-year-old is in fine fettle as he prepares for his first tournament start since his Masters victory exactly one month ago.

Woods raised some eyebrows when he decided to skip the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago, thereby ensuring he would turn up this week without any competitive action between Augusta and Bethpage.

On Tuesday, he erased concerns that there might be any physical issues behind his decision to play back-to-back majors without a fine-tune event in between.

“You know, I wanted to play at Quail Hollow, but to be honest with you, I wasn’t ready yet to start the grind of practicing and preparing and logging all those hours again. I was lifting, my numbers were good, I was feeling good in the gym, but I wasn’t mentally prepared to log in the hours. I think I’ve done a lot of the legwork and the hard work already, trying to find my game over the past year and a half; now I think it’s just maintaining it. I know that I feel better when I’m fresh, the body doesn’t respond like it used to, doesn’t bounce back quite as well, so I’ve got to be aware of that.”

A victory this week could propel Woods back to the top of the world golf rankings for the first time since March 2013.

Hot on his heals though will be four-time major champion McIlroy, who despite the odds favouring his American counterpart, believes he has a chance at victory come Sunday.

“I don’t think anything about the odds; I think I have a good chance. I’ve had a pretty good record at the PGA, a couple of wins and a couple other decent finishes, you know. We’re playing at a golf course that I like, that I’ve had some experience on. I know if I play the way I can, hopefully I’ll have a chance.”

All eyes will be firmly on the progression of Woods though. The 43-year-old broke his 11-year major drought by winning a fifth Masters title at Augusta National in April and despite not playing since then, starts his quest for a record-equalling fifth US PGA title – 20 years after he won his first.

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