LOUISVILLE, Kentucky, Aug 7 (Reuters) – Lee Westwood stormed into a share of the early lead with five birdies in his last six holes at the PGA Championship on Thursday as four-times winner Tiger Woods struggled in the opening round.
Englishman Westwood, long regarded as one of the best players in the game who has yet to clinch a major title, fired a six-under-par 65 on a muggy day at Valhalla Golf Club to finish joint top with American journeyman Kevin Chappell.
LOUISVILLE Kentucky (Reuters) – Unheralded American Brendon Todd moved into an early three-way tie for the lead at the PGA Championship on Thursday while four-times winner Tiger Woods made an erratic start to the opening round.
Woods, watched by huge galleries after teeing off from the 10th in a high-profile grouping with former champions Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington, looked rusty as he bogeyed the 11th and 14th to slip five strokes off the pace.
LOUISVILLE Kentucky (Reuters) – Four-times winner Tiger Woods, pain-free after suffering a back scare on Sunday, prepared for an early morning start as the 96th PGA Championship began under clear skies at Valhalla Golf Club on Thursday.
Woods, who clinched the most recent of his PGA Championship titles in 2007, was scheduled to begin his opening round from the 10th at 8:35 am EDT on a challenging course that measures 7,458 yards off the back tees.
LOUISVILLE Kentucky (Reuters) – Long labeled as one of the best players in the modern game who has yet to win a major title, Sergio Garcia is oozing confidence as he heads into this week’s PGA Championship after a sizzling run of form.
The 34-year-old Spaniard has recorded four top-three finishes in his last five PGA Tour starts, including runner-up spots in his last three, and has great expectations for the final major of the season.
LOUISVILLE Kentucky (Reuters) – The waiting game ended when Tiger Woods pronounced himself pain-free and ready to compete in this week’s PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club after playing nine holes in practice on Wednesday afternoon.
His fitness for the year’s final major had been in some doubt after he was forced to withdraw midway through the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio on Sunday.
LOUISVILLE Kentucky (Reuters) – Organizers of the PGA Championship made official on Wednesday what had long been a proposal by announcing that the 2016 edition of the year’s final major will be held in July.
The PGA Championship usually takes place in early August but, with golf reappearing as an Olympic sport at the 2016 Games after an absence of more than a century, the schedule for the four majors is being revamped.
LOUISVILLE Kentucky (Reuters) – United States captain Tom Watson has appointed PGA Tour veteran Steve Stricker as a vice-captain for this year’s Ryder Cup against holders Europe at Gleneagles in Scotland.
Stricker, 47, will join Andy North and Raymond Floyd as an assistant, though Watson pointed out that he could qualify for the team as a player if he wins this week’s PGA Championship at Valhalla.
LOUISVILLE Kentucky (Reuters) – The waiting game on whether or not Tiger Woods will compete in this week’s PGA Championship entered a new phase on Wednesday when the former world number one arrived at Valhalla Golf Club for an afternoon practice round.
Woods, who withdrew midway through the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio on Sunday due to back spasms, has until his tee time on Thursday morning to register officially for the year’s final major.
LOUISVILLE Kentucky (Reuters) – Most golfers are meticulous when it comes to preparing for tournaments but Jason Dufner has had to abandon his usual attention to detail ahead of this week’s PGA Championship because of a lingering neck injury.
Dufner has been severely hampered by two bulging disks in his neck since April and will launch his title defense at the year’s final major in Thursday’s opening round at Valhalla Golf Club after seeing very little of the par-71 course in practice.
LOUISVILLE Kentucky (Reuters) – Two victories by Bubba Watson in the first four months of this year, including a second triumph at the Masters, highlighted a sizzling start to the 2013-14 PGA Tour by the long-hitting American.
The left-hander piled up seven top-10s in 10 events, two of them runner-up spots, and it seemed that an emotional player known for audacious shot-making and up-and-down form was heading for a season of extraordinary consistency.