While the tournament dropped that nickname in 2013, the same premise remains: It’s the final opportunity of the year for players to make a name for themselves as a major champion.
Woods, a 14-time major champion, tries to end a 10-year major victory drought in his comeback from spinal fusion surgery while three-time major victor Jordan Spieth tries to complete a Career Grand Slam with a victory.
Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka and Francesco Molinari won the Masters, US Open and The Open respectively, and they tee off at 7.15pm. “It’s very hard. It’s a battle for sure”.
It was a disastrous start for Tiger Woods after two holes to start the 2018 PGA Championship.
Day’s closest calls have come at the PGA Championship, finishing second by a shot to Jimmy Walker during his title defence in 2016, before sharing ninth behind victor Justin Thomas past year.
Defending PGA champion Justin Thomas agreed: “The amount of fans out here (Tuesday) was absurd”.
McIlroy also shot 70 while world number two Thomas, riding the momentum of a confidence-boosting victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last week, opened his title defence with a one-under 69.
“I’ve got nothing to lose for the rest of the week, and can just try to play some good golf, and hopefully be there or thereabouts come Sunday”. “I was just so patient and calm”.
And in 2014 McIlroy won two majors and looked unlikely to be threatened. But with the PGA Championship on deck, not to mention the FedExCup and Ryder Cup, the prudent decision was to bow out at Firestone.
“Tiger has been a pretty big influence for me”, Thomas said.
‘I understand this year’s been kind of a building year for me and I’ve been working back towards the level that I like to be at, ‘ Spieth added. “So it’s great to have him back now”.
Massive crowds greeted Woods at his first PGA since 2015, all clamoring for a glimpse of him as he walked from the practice range to the first hole at Bellerive Country Club.
“The grip-it-and-rip-it approach is probably closer to how I play every week anyway”. This seems like a golf course that is right there in front of you.
“I didn’t get up here pre British Open and yesterday (Monday) I took the day off”.
The 25-year-old Spieth has only taken that one crack at joining Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tiger Woods in completing the modern Grand Slam. “I don’t want to say experience, but even though he’s won 14 of these things, if you haven’t done it for a while, you still have to re-learn a few things”.