Tiger Woods has not been in a position to win two major championships in a row since 2008, and hasn’t accomplished that feat since 2006 when he won the Open Championship, and followed it up with the PGA Championship.
He also has the opportunity to win the first two legs of golf’s Grand Slam, something he did in 2002. Woods is still the only golfer to win four consecutive majors.
Woods will have the chance to accomplish that feat as he chases his 16th major this week at the PGA Championship, which begins Thursday.
It’s amazing how one year has changed the perception on Woods. Though the betting public had not given up on the 43-year-old, most in the golf world thought it would be difficult for Woods to come back after his fourth back surgery.
Hype Already Building
Then his victory at the Masters a month ago turned the golf world upside down. Suddenly Woods had created a frenzy again in the sport. The site of the second major couldn’t be in a better place than where it is. Bethpage Black, just outside of New York City in Long Island, will provide a rock concert atmosphere, and media from all over the world will be there to chronicle it.
Joe LaCava, Woods’ caddie, told the New York Daily News he isn’t sure what to expect when his boss tees off on Thursday.
“I can’t even imagine,” LaCava said. “I think the atmosphere is going to be off the hook after winning the Masters.”
Tigermania has already hit the area. Reports on Woods’ yacht docked near the golf course surfaced last week, and when Woods played a practice round last Wednesday a few lucky golf fans were there to see it.
Boost to Sport
There is no doubt Woods moves the needle when it comes to golf. At the Masters’ final round, CBS saw the largest ratings for a morning golf telecast. Now with the PGA Championship moving from August to May this year, longtime broadcaster Jim Nantz told reporters on a recent conference call that it will hype the event even more.
“This is unquestionably one of the great cases of serendipity when it comes to scheduling that I’ve ever seen in the sports broadcasting world,” Nantz said. “Who could have ever forecast that the PGA Championship would walk into Year One of this coming on the heels of one of the greatest moments in the history of the sport?”
Players also agree Woods has an undeniable impact on the sport. Jordan Spieth told reporters at the Masters that having Woods back was good for everyone.
“I think it’s really good for our game going forward,” Spieth said. “Knowing that we’ll potentially have the chance to battle it out with him is a dream come true.”
Odds Still Favor Woods
Woods is still the favorite at 9/1 to win the tournament. He has won a major here before, capturing the 2002 US Open at Bethpage.
Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka are the next pick at 10/1, though some sportsbooks, like the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook have the trio at 10/1.