Why Tiger Woods was a no-show Wednesday

Aubrey Yates
May 18, 2019

Brooks Koepka has a theory that major championships are the easiest tournaments to win.

How many make the cut at the PGA Championship? He played only nine holes of practice this week, sitting out on the eve of the PGA Championship because he says he was sick.

"Don't get me wrong, I'll take it every day but just need to clean a few things up".

Johnson played alongside Spieth and reached 5 under for the tournament approaching the 18th, only to miss the fairway and go over the green. How much of that is true or imagined is up for debate, but there is no question the victor of three of the past seven major championships uses every perceived slight for motivation.

Sixth-ranked Woods opened with a double bogey at the 10th hole and made another at the par-3 17th.

Stronger than ever less than two years after tearing a ligament in his spinal column, the 28-year-old Kiwi was 6-under in the opening round of the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black to finish the day one stroke behind defending champion Brooks Koepka.

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Make no mistake: A gallery that trudged through muddied walkways to the 10th tee in the early morning was there primarily for Woods, who created a new era of Tigermania with his stirring comeback after four back surgeries to win a 15th major. He managed to do so by hitting 14 of 18 greens and holing a couple of ticklish par putts; he needed just 25 putts for the round. I think over the next few years, I'm excited for what's to come.

"I've never been this confident", he said. "As players, we all knew that he was back a long time ago".

Woods bogeyed three of the next four holes before Koepka finished his bogey-free round with a 33-foot birdie. "This was actually the first time I actually got to play in a major with this distance". "I feel like I'm striking it really well, putting it really well, especially the putts coming down the stretch". The three have combined for the last four major titles as Koepka won the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in 2018, Molinari won the 2018 British Open and Woods won the Masters.

Koepka also shot 63 previous year at Bellerive in St. Louis on his way to a two-shot victory over Woods.

Woods, who has topped the rankings for a record 683 weeks, also could become world number one for the first time since March 2013 with a victory on the same course where he captured the 2002 US Open.

Four-time major victor Rory McIlroy, who closed with his lone birdie to open on 72 is another early starter. His 63 was the 17th in PGA Championship history, and he is the first player to post a 63 in consecutive years at major championships. "I think once in a while, they have these major setups, and I enjoy the challenge. I guess that would have been pretty good".

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