Final round excites Tiger
As a 54-hole leader who has never lost a major, Tiger Woods is relishing Sunday’s final round of the PGA.
Tiger Woods will take his record as a 54-hole leader who has never lost a major into the final round of the US PGA Championship mindful of his rivals but relishing the battle ahead.
The world number one has held the third-round lead in a major 14 times and won every time and he will tee off in search of number 15 with a two-shot lead over Padraig Harrington and YE Yang supremely confident despite seeing his four-stroke halfway lead halved in the third round.
“You have to enjoy being in that position, and also that to be in that position you’re not playing poorly,” Woods said.
“I’ve played well to get myself in those positions, and I am fortunate to have won most of those events.
“You just have to go out there and compete and play, and that’s what’s so much fun about it.”
A week ago Woods went toe-to-toe with Harrington in the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, swapping the lead in an intense duel until the Irishman collapsed at the 16th hole.
Woods, who has the chance to tie Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus as five-time winners of the US PGA, said those were the types of contests that excited him.
“It is a rush and especially when there’s a major championship involved,” he said.
“It’s fun to go out there and test what you have, and other guys are throwing it at you and hopefully I can throw it back at them.
“It’s fun. That’s the rush of it, to try and go out there and try and deal with it and execute.”
Woods’ third-round, one-under-par 71 was bettered not only by Harrington (69) and South Korea’s Yang (67) among his nearest rivals but also by Sweden’s Henrik Stenson (68), who lies four shots back at four under, old rival Ernie Els (70) and Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen (70), who finished the day at three under.
That left Woods with plenty to think about heading into a final round that could also be heavily affected by the forecasts for up to an inch of overnight rain and thunderstorms during Sunday’s play.
“Obviously you’ve got to play well,” Woods said.
“With what the guys did on Saturday on the golf course, you know the guys can shoot some good numbers …in the wind.
“And a lot depends on the weather. It’s supposed to be bad on Sunday, and I don’t know quite how bad, and hopefully we can get it in, if it is bad.
“If it becomes softer, the fairways get bigger, but you can get a little more aggressive going into some of these flags.
“But boy, these greens got a little bit interesting this afternoon. Towards that back nine, you had to be very cautious on your putts and not run them by.
“So if we get some more rain on Sunday, it will be even worse.”
Woods will be partnered by Yang in the final pairing, although Harrington may join them if weather disruptions prompt tournament officials to re-pair the playing groups into threes. Regardless, the world number one said thoughts of landing a 15th major and tying Hagen and Nicklaus for a fifth US PGA title were not prominent in his thinking.
“I have a long way to go before that happens. Hopefully I can play a good enough round on Sunday and get into that position.”
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