World number one golfer ready to put injury concerns behind him.
Tiger Woods has a chance to ease the sting of a year without a major title by capturing a $10 million playoff bonus at the season-ending US PGA Tour Championship.
World number one Woods is among 30 players in the hunt for a title in this week’s $8 million tournament and one of five who can claim the FedEx Cup season points playoff bonus jackpot with a victory.
“The playoffs have been pretty successful,” said points leader Woods. “It’s where I wanted to be after the year I have had.”
Woods has won five titles this season and has captured the playoff crown in 2007 and 2009. He has won twice at this week’s host course, East Lake, in 1999 and 2007 and finished second four other times.
“I have had a good run here,” Woods said. “I have felt comfortable on this golf course. This week’s going to be interesting. We’re going to get some different weather coming in here, and obviously got to make the adjustments.”
Rain and possible thunderstorms could blow into the Atlanta area on Saturday afternoon, with the chance of bad weather going from 50-50 to 80% for Sunday with cooler conditions coming with the precipitation.
Also needing only a victory to capture the playoff payoff as well as Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, Australian Adam Scott and Americans Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar.
Woods spent Wednesday not playing a practice round on a course he has played in 14 events, but instead practicing chips and putts on Bermuda grass, which he has not played upon for several weeks.
“I’m going to get used to chipping off Bermuda again because that’s very different than we’ve had the last few weeks,” Woods said.
“I’ve played this golf course when it has been baked out and hot and dry and firm, and I’ve played it when it’s been rainy and cold and miserable. That helps over the course of time. You start to understand how to play it and you get a feel, and there’s a memory to it.”
Scott, who won at East Lake in 2006, can look back at his first major triumph from the Masters last April and declare it a successful season, but he still feels this week will tell a great deal about his campaign, and potential Player of the Year honors.
“It has been a great year for sure,” Scott said. “But I think this week counts so much for me and how the year will be remembered by myself and others.”
Scott, who won last month at the Barclays in the playoffs, has curtailed his schedule the past two years to better peak for the majors and key events such as this one.
“What I’ve learned the last couple of years is that being in contention in big tournaments takes a lot of energy,” he said. “If you’re playing a lot of golf, then I just don’t think you can maintain that high level the whole time.”
Stenson is fighting off left wrist tendinitis as he prepares for a last-pair tee time Thursday alongside Woods.
“It’s painful but I’ll be able to play through it,” he said.
He likes his chances at the top playoff prize despite the soreness.
“We’re in there with a chance. That’s all I can ask,” he said. “I’m in a good spot, but I still need a lot of good things to happen to be able to pull off the win.”
Stenson walked the back nine on Wednesday after playing the front nine Tuesday, trying to save the stress on his sore wrist.
“It hasn’t really been affecting my shots that much, but it’s gradually getting more and more painful kind of overnight before I get going in the morning,” Stenson said. “So I’ll try to rest it a little bit.”