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PGA Championship wide open in uncertain Tiger era

With a list of potential major winners unprecedented in depth and doubts over whether Tiger Woods will ever regain his former dominance, this week`s PGA Championship is wide open for the taking.



"I`ve just got to keep playing," the former world number one told reporters after signing off with a level-par 70 at Firestone Country Club. "It`s just something that comes over time of just playing and getting the feel for it."

Asked whether one more tournament under his belt would have been desirable before this week`s PGA Championship, Woods replied: "It would be nice, but hey, I`ve got three days.

"So I`m going to worry about these three days, apply it accordingly and be ready come Thursday."

The days of Woods intimidating his rivals going into any major championship are, at least for the moment, over.

Tiger Dominance

He has not won a major since the 2008 US Open nor any tournament worldwide since 2009 and the aura of dominance he once enjoyed is either forgotten or has never been experienced by some of the emerging young talents in the game.

Last week`s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational provided a glimpse into the likely face of golf`s future with 19-year-old Japanese Ryo Ishikawa, American Rickie Fowler, 22, Australian Jason Day, 23, and Northern Ireland`s Rory McIlroy, 22, all challenging for the title.

World number four McIlroy has already made a major mark on the game, winning the US Open in record style by a staggering eight shots at Congressional in June.

That performance has certainly encouraged many of his peers, just as he was motivated by the US Open victory of his compatriot Graeme McDowell at Pebble Beach the year before.
"I`ve just got to keep playing," the former world number one told reporters after signing off with a level-par 70 at Firestone Country Club. "It`s just something that comes over time of just playing and getting the feel for it."

Asked whether one more tournament under his belt would have been desirable before this week`s PGA Championship, Woods replied: "It would be nice, but hey, I`ve got three days.

"So I`m going to worry about these three days, apply it accordingly and be ready come Thursday."

The days of Woods intimidating his rivals going into any major championship are, at least for the moment, over.

Tiger Dominance

He has not won a major since the 2008 US Open nor any tournament worldwide since 2009 and the aura of dominance he once enjoyed is either forgotten or has never been experienced by some of the emerging young talents in the game.

Last week`s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational provided a glimpse into the likely face of golf`s future with 19-year-old Japanese Ryo Ishikawa, American Rickie Fowler, 22, Australian Jason Day, 23, and Northern Ireland`s Rory McIlroy, 22, all challenging for the title.

World number four McIlroy has already made a major mark on the game, winning the US Open in record style by a staggering eight shots at Congressional in June.

That performance has certainly encouraged many of his peers, just as he was motivated by the US Open victory of his compatriot Graeme McDowell at Pebble Beach the year before.
"When Graeme won last year, it made me realise that winning a major championship was achievable, attainable, said McIlroy.

"To see a great friend like that win a major, it only inspires you. It inspires you to go out and emulate them. And funny enough, I was able to do that."

Germany`s Martin Kaymer, who won last year`s PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in a playoff with American left-hander Bubba Watson, expects the par-70 Atlanta Athletic Club layout to provide a daunting challenge this week.

"It`s about ball-striking here," the German said. "The rough will be thick ... it will be difficult.”

"But I think you get really rewarded here, and it`s a big advantage, if you hit fairways. It`s a long golf course but you have to strike the ball well.”

"It`s easy to make double-bogeys on this golf course, especially the last four holes. There might be some people struggling to get home in two on the par-fours. So it will be a tough tournament for sure."

Of all the majors in recent times, the PGA attracts the strongest field and yet it has often been the most likely to throw up a surprise winner.

The championship was won in consecutive years from 2002 by unheralded Americans Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel, underlining that any player is capable of victory.

Whoever ends up lifting the prized Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday will have coped best with one of golf`s toughest challenges.

Bureau Report

From Zee News

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