Tiger Woods updates: PGA Championship

By PGATour.com

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Tiger Woods is back. Wednesday’s opening round of the PGA Championship was his first competitive round since his memorable victory at the Masters.

Woods said he feels “rested and ready” after taking four weeks to enjoy his first major victory in more than a decade. He’ll need all the energy he can muster to tackle a big and brawny Black Course at Bethpage State Park. The 7,459-yard layout is playing even longer because of cold, wet conditions. Penal rough will make finding fairways even more important, especially with so many elevated greens.

Woods is playing the first two rounds with Francesco Molinari and Brooks Koepka, a group that features the past three major winners. They’re accustomed to facing each other in golf’s Grand Slam events. Koepka and Molinari finished second to Woods at the Masters. It was Koepka who held off Woods at last year’s PGA, and Molinari played alongside Woods en route to victory at The Open.

This may be a new date and new site for the PGA Championship, but it is familiar territory for Woods. He won the 2002 U.S. Open here. That’s the only year he won the first two majors of the year. Once again, he’s trying to start the season with major wins at Augusta National and Bethpage Black.

History may be on his side. The last time the PGA was played in May, the winner was the same man who’d won the Masters a month earlier. That was Sam Snead in 1949. Woods can tie Snead’s record for PGA TOUR victories (82) this week. He’s also seeking his 16th major championship.

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE: It will be a tough start to the PGA Championship’s first round for Tiger Woods, who is back at Bethpage after not coming to the course on Wednesday. He tees off on No. 10 today. Bethpage Black’s back nine does not offer a friendly welcome. Two of the first three holes are par-4s longer than 500 yards. The first 10 players on No. 10 were a combined 8 over par. Max Homa was the only player to birdie the hole. Early in the first round, players are nearly 2 over par on Nos. 10-12. The driver will be an important club this week – hitting fairways will be a must because of the thick rough and elevated greens – and Woods will be forced to use it early and often Thursday.