That's right Ladies and Gentlemen. This is PGA Championship week. The least of the four majors, unfortunately for the event, but nonetheless, still a Major. It is also the last one of the calendar year, and for most casual fans of golf, the end as well.
This year has some pretty week story lines. Usually there is some sort of ridiculousness surrounding the one of the three previous major winners. Someones final shot at a major, someones final shot at redempetion, someones final shot at winning all four in their lifetime.
Of course this year is Tiger. His last chance to win a Major this year, which has pretty much been touted as a pretty dismal year. Go figure, cause the last time I checked, he has won 5 times this year so far. I guess that's not up to Tiger's "par" because some of the articles written and some of the broadcasts I've watched have been silly.
One guy said on a broadcast that Tiger has been one of the biggest disappointments this year. Well look. Don't be an asshole. As I said, the guy has won 5 times this year. And that's a year coming off of knee surgery. His 4th. There are recognizable pro names out there that haven't won that many events in their CAREER, let alone one year, and all of a sudden, Tiger's a disappointment. I love it. Good Christ, the guy is up for player of the year, and you have some douche bags calling it a disappointment. Save me your bullshit Johhny. He's not a god. Just an exceptional human being on the course. Give him credit for Christ's sake.
So that then becomes the story for the week. Will Tiger win his last shot at a major for '09. A big part of that story will be if he wins, it takes him 2 back from grabbing his coveted 19th major. 19 surpasses Nichlaus's record and launches Tiger into... well, he's already there. But it will be the completion of the goal he has strived for since he started this whole mess.
What it does for the media is give them a clock. At which major will he surpass Jack? The stories will be relentless next year.
Another big story is the course itself. This year it is playing rather long. How long? 7600 yards long. Wanna know what the average length from the tips at most golf courses are across the Divided states are (political joke)? How about 6400. A professional tournament averages closer to 6800 yards. So this time around they have a nother 800 yards to contend with.
How does that shape up for the players? Well, 3 of the 4 par 5's are more than 600 yards. And there is one par 4 (the 12th) that is 518 yards. The bigger hitters will have an advantage. Not much of one, because they still have to putt. But one none the less.
Byron Nelson, who was Tiger like before Tiger's dad even fingered his first girlfriend believed that you couldn't putt until you got the ball to the green. A little different thought process than the 'ole "drive for show, putt for dough" slogan, but nonetheless important.
I believe that there will be some good stories this week. People will be hammering the ball away. When that happens extrordinarily good things will happen for some, while others will struggle.
Sergio Garcia is always a favorite of mine. I root for him week in and week out with the loyalty of a dog without as much as any reciprication from his success. I don't know why, but I have always loved this kid. His issues this year stem from heartbreak. And he has admittedly said so. His little piece of ass, Morgan Leigh Norman (Gregg Normans daughter) ditched him early in the spring, and he hasn't recovered. Poor little guy. I think it's been long enough to recover and I hope he punishes the little white ball as if it were her ass. If he can keep it straight, and make the putts that he never could beforem, his length and short game should give him a huge chance.
Of course you have some old schoolers out there playing this week as well. Mark Brooks, Davis Love, and I think David Toms will be playing again. All past champions. Paul Azinger, fresh off of his suspension from last year's event. Why? cause he withdrew from a tournament last July saying he was hurt, but ended up at a table in the World Series of Poker. HAHAHAHAHA! Love's him some gambool.
Freddy Couples is playing (my favorite of all time), Bob Estes who got in as an alternate yesterday. Woody austin, Jim Furyk. They're all there. Christ, even Corey Pavin is playing. It will certainly make for a good view.
Tiger has won the PGA 4 times in his career. All 4 of them back to back. Twice in '06 and '07, and twice before in '99 and '00.
That means if he is to win this week, it's a good calculation that he might win next year. (That and the fact that he's only the best golfer to ever play the game). Those things combined would mean that one major win in between now and then would put them at a tie. (Tiger has 17, Jack has 20; counting US Amateur Championships for both as well). Jack has 73 lifetime wins, and Tiger has 69.
If Tiger can win this week, it will certainly make for next years season an incredible one to watch. The passing of the torch if you will. I will assume by watching Tiger his whole career that he will not just tip toe across the finish line either. I can imagine a complete and utter domination of those records next year. I wouldn't be surprised if he won all 4 Majors, (first to do so ever, even though he was held all 4 trophies at once) and about 7-10 other wins. I wouldn't be surprised if he went out and destroyed Byron Nelsons record of 11 straight (actually 12 but the last one wasn't a sanctioned PGA event, so it didn't count).
Yes, into today's field it seems almost insurmountable to accomplish. But we are talking about one of the greatest talents, the greatest competitors, of our lifeftime. I'm hoping for Sergio this weekend. I don't know why either. I just like the kid. But Tiger wouldn't be a surprise, nor would it be unwelcome. Oh and Freddy winning, or at least contending, wouldn't be bad either.
In the very least, even if you are just a casual fan of golf, the course set up will be worth the watch. Monster drives will be all over the place this week. It will certainly be one to enjoy.