Whether it was coincidental or symbolic that thunder rumbled throughout Tiger Woods’ session with the media Tuesday at the PGA Championship is open to interpretation.
If you’re looking for symbolism, it didn’t thunder when Luke Donald, Keegan Bradley and Bubba Watson followed Woods into the interview room.
Then again, since it’s been dumping downpours every hour or so on this gorgeous slice of Atlantic coastline, Tiger’s lunch-time chat with the media was fortuitously timed to begin just after officials sounded a horn taking everyone off Pete Dye’s version of a Rubik’s cube, to avoid another Weather Channel moment.
With his work done early, Tiger had the afternoon to repair to his yacht, Privacy, which dominates the nearby Bohicket Marina in the same way sand dominates a desert.
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It’s home this week for Woods, who loves the water unless it’s dripping from the media center’s ceiling, which happened when the rain pounded so hard he couldn’t understand a question being asked by a man with a microphone.
“Huh? What?” Tiger deadpanned as the man’s question was swallowed up by the storm outside.
He has 14 major championships and comic timing, too. Who knew?
This is different territory for Woods. Not only had he not played the Ocean Course before a fly-by visit last week, he’s gone more than four years since he last won a major championship.
That’s 17 straight majors if you’re counting and, because it’s Tiger, seemingly everyone is counting. That’s because the countdown to breaking Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championship victories has stalled at 14.
Woods doesn’t have to be reminded, though he is every time another major rolls around. Asked if it’s harder for him to win a major than it was 10 years ago, he considered the question for a moment and said, “Well, I haven’t won one (recently) so probably.”
Remember when the question was which majors Tiger would win each year?
Now it’s whether he’ll win another.
Yes, he’ll win more majors unless his knee or Achilles or desire gives out. All of those seem to be in good shape again, not that desire was ever as fragile as his lower body.
Woods has won three times this year but all he’s done is flirt with the majors. He faded on the weekend at the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club and his careful approach to playing Royal Lytham blew up with a final-round triple bogey that destroyed his chances at the British Open.
A lot of golfers talk about pointing to the majors, but Woods practically lives it. From where he’d fallen to where he is now, No. 2 in the world, he seems on the cusp of recapturing much of his former golf glory. A 15th major is the next requirement.
“Things have progressed but, still, not winning a major championship doesn’t feel very good,” he said.
At first glance, this PGA Championship may seem less suited to Woods than other major championships if only because of the nature of the Ocean Course. No one is quite sure what to expect when play starts Thursday.
Woods said he likes Pete Dye designs because Dye “makes you look the other way” rather than at visually intimidating targets. The penalty for missing fairways and greens at the Ocean Course can be severe and Woods has been known to spray his tee shots.
But when he locks in on a game plan he trusts, he’s still a master at playing to spots, which the Ocean Course demands. He also learns from his mistakes and he’ll take the good from the first two days at the U.S. Open and the consistency he displayed at the British Open and roll it into what he brings into the PGA Championship.
“It’s nice to be able to do the things I know I can do,” Woods said.
Someone asked if he’d like to one day invest in a professional sports franchise, the way Phil Mickelson has with the San Diego Padres.
“Absolutely. I just need a lot more money,” Woods said. “My teams are the Lakers, the Dodgers and the Raiders, so I’ve got to play really well.”
His buddy, Michael Jordan, might make a piece of the Charlotte Bobcats available. If rumors are true, he already has and Woods declined. Maybe if they changed their team colors to purple and gold or sold Dodger Dogs.
Team ownership is something Woods could ponder on his yacht during his downtime this week. His first order of business is winning the PGA Championship.
As the rain drummed on the media center roof, Woods excused himself with a smile saying, “Let’s go play some golf.”
And it thundered again.