Tiger Woods’ 2019 major prospects: Will he close gap on Jack Nicklaus’ record? | Golf News

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Last Updated: 16/04/19 5:02pm

Tiger Woods celebrates his US Open win in 2002

Tiger Woods’ Masters victory has breathed new life into his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record tally of major championships.

Woods’ fifth win at Augusta took his tally in majors to 15, just three behind Nicklaus, so what are the chances of the world No 6 further closing the gap in the year’s three remaining tournaments?

We take a look at his prospects ahead of the PGA Championship, US Open and Open Championship – all live on Sky Sports.

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PGA Championship – Bethpage Black

Tiger Woods won by three shots at Bethpage in 2002

Tiger Woods won by three shots at Bethpage in 2002

Next up for Tiger is the PGA Championship, which has been brought forward in the calendar from August to May.

A three-time winner of the tournament, Woods won it back-to-back in 2006 and 2007 and finished runner-up at Bellerive last year, but perhaps more significantly, he won the US Open at Bethpage in 2002.

Fresh from winning his third Masters, the tough New York track brought Woods his eighth major, as his three-under score for the week was enough to finish three clear of Phil Mickelson, with Sergio Garcia and Nick Faldo also in the top five.

Woods finished in a tie for sixth at the same venue in 2009

Woods finished in a tie for sixth at the same venue in 2009

Woods also rallied from an opening-round 74 at the 2009 US Open on the same course to finish tied for sixth – four shots behind surprise winner Lucas Glover, although his last visit was less pleasant.

In 2012, he aggravated knee and back injuries en route to a tie for 38th at The Barclays, as his fall down the world rankings continued.

PGA Championship director Scott Reid said: “It definitely raises the level of excitement a notch or two. Whenever you’re in New York, you’re going to have great crowds and really die-hard sports fans. I think we’re expecting the same when the PGA Championship comes to Bethpage.”

US Open – Pebble Beach

Woods won the 2000 US Open by a record 15 shots at Pebble Beach

Woods won the 2000 US Open by a record 15 shots at Pebble Beach

The year’s third major sees Woods return to the scene of his brilliant success in the 2000 US Open, where he won by a record 15 shots as the only man under par for the week.

Woods had already won at the California venue earlier that year – winning the Pebble Beach Pro-Am with a final-round 64 having trailed by seven shots with seven to play.

The US Open returned to Pebble Beach in 2010, when a third-round 66 catapulted him into contention only for a final-round 75 to condemn his chances and he finished tied with Phil Mickelson for fourth.

Tiger Woods knows Pebble Beach very well as his annual invitational is held there

Tiger Woods knows Pebble Beach very well as his annual invitational is held there

Pebble Beach is also one of the three host courses for his annual Tiger Woods Invitational along the Monterey Peninsula.

“The golf course has always had a special place in my heart,” Woods said after winning the 2000 US Open. “One, for its pristine beauty and another [for] its mystique… the [dramatic] finishes that we’ve had in tournaments over the years on this golf course… I’ve always absolutely loved playing here, from the time I was 13. And I’ll always continue to love it.”

Open Championship – Royal Portrush

Woods has no experience of playing Royal Portrush

Woods has no experience of playing Royal Portrush

Woods has never even played in Northern Ireland, never mind at Royal Portrush, although he won’t be alone there as many others in the field will have limited experience of the year’s final major.

Portrush last hosted The Open in 1951, although it did host the 2012 Irish Open, which was won by Jamie Donaldson with Rory McIlroy and Francesco Molinari finishing in a tie for 10th.

Woods admitted in November that he plans to travel early to the event in July, “probably in the week before just to help familiarise myself with the course”.

Woods has won the Open Championship three times, twice at St Andrews

Woods has won the Open Championship three times, twice at St Andrews

Woods, of course, has enjoyed plenty of success on links courses in the past, lifting the Claret Jug twice at St Andrews and once at Hoylake. His eight-shot win at St Andrews in 2000 was the biggest margin of victory in the tournament since 1913.

“It’s my favourite type of golf to play,” he said before playing Carnoustie last year. “I love playing here, this type of links golf… because it is creative. We’re not going to get the most perfect bounces. And I think that’s the fun challenge of it.”





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