NY Sports Day

Tiger Woods Ready For Bethpage Black

Hailey Garrett/PGA of America

Tiger Woods likes playing golf. In fact when asked if he was going to expand his brand and have his own TV show, like Peyton Manning or Kobe Bryant, the answer was repeatedly , “No.”

That’s why he’s the talk of Bethpage this week. After winning the Masters last month, all eyes are on the 43 year-old and that’s the way he likes it.

But unlike his 14 other majors, last month was very different for Tiger.

“I’m not going to say it was just like old times, no. It was very different. I hadn’t won in a long time there. I’ve been in contention numerous times to have gotten it done, but I haven’t. And just the way it played out. I mean, it was so different as a whole. You know, because we teed off in threesomes. There was a two-tee start. We went off early. These are things that have never happened in Augusta’s history. We could have easily got in a quick 18 after the ceremony.”

It won’t be that way this week. Woods was the underdog in Augusta, here he will be at least the media favorite, but that doesn’t change a thing when he is on the golf course.

In essence, Woods will be acting the same as he has for any other tournament.

“Prior to playing, I feel great,” he said. “As I was saying earlier, I wanted to be — I wanted to play a couple weeks ago, just wasn’t quite mentally ready to do it. But physically I’ve been feeling really good. The training sessions have been good. I’ve been doing a lot of practicing of late, not in sweaters, so this is a little bit different.

“I’m excited to get out there on the golf course. We came up here last week, took a look at it in detail and spent a lot of time on it. I played nine holes yesterday, and I’m going to take today off, I’ll practice a bit and I’ll play nine holes tomorrow making sure I’m ready to go come Thursday.

“This is not only a big golf course, but this is going to be a long week the way the golf course is set up and potentially could play. This could be a hell of a championship.”

And a hell of a week as Woods looks to make history, playing for his 16th major. At 43, Woods, knows he has a place in history, but players like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus played for decades, which is why he knows longevity is something a golf needs to succeed.

“My narrative spans 20 years now, just over 20 years,” Woods said. “If you look at most of the players or the players that have had the most success on TOUR, you’re not measured by like an NFL football player when you get in the Hall of Fame after nine years. If you played out here nine years, you haven’t really done that well. You’re measured in decades. Arnold Palmer played in 50 straight Masters. It’s just done differently.

“Because the nature of the sport, we’re able to hang around a lot longer and still be relevant. A neat thing about this championship here is that when Jack played in his final PGA in 2000, I played with him, he said he played with Gene Sarazen in his final PGA.

“So the fact that golf can span nearly, what, 60, 70 years and playing careers, that’s what makes it so special.”

We will see if that specialness continues on Thursday.

The TV shows can wait. 


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