The last major golf tournament of the year, the PGA Championship, gets underway Thursday at Hazeltine golf course in Minnesota. Tiger Woods will try to join Hall of Famers Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus as the only men to win five PGA Championships.
Tiger Woods comes into the PGA riding a wave of confidence. The World No. 1 just won the Bridgestone Invitational by four strokes making him the first man to win a PGA Tour event seven times on the same golf course. Two weeks ago, Woods won the Buick Open in Grand Blanc Michigan by three strokes.
But Woods has faltered in the majors this year. He finished tied for sixth at the Masters and the U.S. Open, and missed the cut at the British Open. But Tiger says he is pleased with his year, even though he has not won a major.
"Ah, it's been a great year either way," said Tiger Woods. "For me to come back and play and to play as well as I have done and acutally win golf events. To think that at the very beginning of the year, when I was feeling the way I was, to be honest with you I don't think any of us would have thought I could have won this many events."
Tiger is the favorite going into the tournament, but he will have to get past an all-star field that includes Masters and former U.S. Open winner Angel Cabrera of Argentina, British Open champion Stewart Cink of the United States and defending champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland.
Harrington has not won a tournament on the U.S. PGA Tour this year. His closest finish came last week at the Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for second.
The Dubliner says that he can not worry about Tiger Woods or others - he plans just to play against the Hazeltine Course.
"There's a lot of stars out there and if I looked at their games, I would think that they are all phenomenal players and how could I ever beat them? So if I start concentrating on them I would feel inferior," said Padraig Harrington. "So if I concentrate on myself, you know that's controllable. I can't control them and if I do that I know from experience that it will actually do fine."
The field is packed with stars, including second-ranked Phil Mickelson, No. 4 Kenny Perry of the United States, sixth-ranked Sergio Garcia of Spain, Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Australian Geoff Ogilvy.
The tournament is being played on the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, a par-72 layout that measures 7,017 meters. Weather forecasters are calling for mostly sunny skies Thursday and Friday with a chance of thunderstorms Saturday and Sunday.
This week's winner will earn the Wanamaker Trophy and $1.35 million.