Woods sets sights on PGA Championship

Tiger Woods has turned his attention to his quest for a 15th major title after cruising to an eighth WGC Bridgestone Invitational and 79th PGA Tour victory of his career.

The world number one would love nothing more than securing win number 80 in this week’s US PGA Championship at Oak Hill, more than five years since his last major success in the 2008 US Open.

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods (www.golffile.ie)

“Do I want it any more?” said Woods when the ‘major’ question was asked at the post-round press interview following his win at Akron.

“Each and every major, I always want them. I’ve been successful 14 times, and, hopefully, next week will be 15.”

Phil Mickelson also has his sights sets on back-to-back majors following last month’s win at The Open Championship and will be a serious challenger for the title, as will our own Adam Scott.

“I’ve studied the golf course,” said Mickelson.

“I know exactly how I’m going to play it, I just need to get my game sharp now.”

Mickelson will tee up alongside Scott, the reigning Masters Champion, and US Open winner Justin Rose.

Heading into the PGA Championship, Woods and Mickelson have won three events between them in the last month to attract the most attention regarding possible contenders for the last major of the season.

They are set up for a classic confrontation that hasn’t been seen for some time.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” says Woods.

“I feel like my game is pretty consistent. The weeks I’ve putted well, I’ve been able to win, so it’s been pretty good so far.”

The last occasion Woods won the PGA Championship was in 2007 after claiming his sixth victory at the Bridgestone Invitational.

His victory last Sunday takes Woods’ PGA Tour tally to 79, three behind the record held by Sam Snead. It was Woods’ fifth for the season, three more than any other player on the PGA Tour, and he has now collected five or more PGA Tour titles in a year a record-extending 10 times.

But it has been Woods’ recent performances in the majors which has attracted attention.

Twice last season Woods was the 36-hole leader at majors – the US Open and PGA Championship – and was not a back-nine contender on Sunday.

He was in the mix at the Masters this season, yet that ‘drop’ in the second round turned a possible birdie into a triple-bogey. Two weeks ago at The Open, he was in position to take the 54-hole lead yet never got close to the action on the final day.

“It’s important for me to get some rest come Monday and Tuesday and do some light work,” says Woods.

“I’ve got a great pairing with Keegan and Davis [Love]. Basically I will just try and get a feel for the golf course and how it’s playing. That’s the plan.”

Rory McIlroy’s mission this week is defending the title he won so easily twelve months ago by eight shots and despite signs of brilliance at Akron, he will need an extraordinary turnaround in form to contend this week.

McIlroy finished tied for 25th at the Masters and then tied for 41st at the US Open. The Open Championship was his worst major performance of the year after failing to make the cut.