Woods says only the long-hitters can stop him in final major

Tiger Woods all but ruled out the chances of nine-tenths of the USPGA Championship field here yesterday. But anybody who saw the world No 1 stride through 18 holes of practice at Baltusrol with an air that was thicker with confidence than it has ever been will tell you he was simply being kind to the other 10th.

"You know, this course's length does eliminate a lot of the guys who can't hit the ball long and high," he said, agreeing that as few as 15 of the 156 competitors have the required game to do so. "That's a fact that shows up when you get to courses playing as slow as this one is. It sure did at Augusta, but at the US Open you saw a whole mixture of guys in contention because the fairways were running so fast that anybody could play."

Pinehurst, of course, is the solitary blip on the Woods major calendar so far this year, but as he still managed to finish second to Michael Campbell there with a putting performance that was at best "awful", the 29-year-old will have the honour of teeing it up in tomorrow's first round knowing that a win would herald the finest major-season in golfing history.

"That would be huge, huge," he admitted after his usual dash around the course with the larks. "You know I've won three in a season before [in 2000] but to do it again with a runners-up in the other ... yeah that would be pretty cool. But there's a long way to go before that. A long, long way."

Indeed, some 7,400 yards around a lay-out he termed as "a very fair test", despite the hellish bluegrass rough that the PGA has mercilessly raked towards the tees to make the professionals' task even more difficult in trying to get any control at all. "It's old school here," he said, "everything is right in front of you. But you really do have to drive the ball well."

Colin Montgomerie will say "amen" to that, although Woods believes the three swollen fingers the Scot will again rest today after playing just the one practice round yesterday might well scupper his hopes. "Look, the last thing you want to have when the rough is this high is a hand injury," he said, almost scratching off another would-be challenger in the process.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat