Tiger Woods directs 16th major in US PGA at Bethpage Black

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The 43-year-old is the gambling favorite for this year's second major during the PGA Championship at Bethpage – moved from August to a new slot in May – after clinching his fifth Green Jacket and first major title for 11 years after overcoming a career-threatening back injury and personal problems.

Woods & comeback has re-electrified golf and reignited its pursuit of Jack Nicklaus & # 39; record of 18 majors, and Bethpage & # 39; s notorious Black course is a location he knows intimately after winning the 2002 US Open on the Long Island course.

"I wanted to play at Quail Hollow [in early May] but to be honest I wasn't willing to start over, I wasn't mentally ready to log the hours," Woods told reporters on Bethpage Tuesday.

"Here is another story."

READ: Woods & # 39; Masters victory has Nicklaus "shaking in my boots" READ: & # 39; It's surreal & # 39 ;, says Woods of the 15th big

Olympic dream

The two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson was one of a number of players who wanted to congratulate Woods in Augusta and told CNN & # 39; s Don Riddell that it & # 39; overwhelming & # 39; and & # 39; crazy to watch & # 39; used to be.

"We looked at a great champion – he could be considered the greatest of all time – and even after all the stuff he went through and his body went through, he continues to prove it," Watson said.

"It was a great ride and to be a part of the field and also to be able to shake his hand and talk to him, it was pretty special."

Woods hopes his 15th major title may have the same springboard effect as his second major, who came to the Masters of 1997 more than two years after his stunning breakthrough.

"It only helped to grow the momentum, "said Woods, who recently visited the White House to receive the Presidential Medal of Honor from US President Donald Trump.

"It was a great moment to start what happened."

READ: Koepka on Tiger's approach: "I'm not afraid of anyone"

World number 6 Woods insists that he still has to control his back after undergoing spinal fusion surgery in April 2017, and says that on some days he has more freedom of movement than others, which means that he spends more time on his short game than on anything else.

Whether his masters win paves the way for a new period of dominance "remains to be seen," says Woods, but he is determined to compete again in major events, including next year's Olympics in Tokyo.

"Would I like to play at the Olympics? Yes," he said. "That would be a first for me and I would certainly welcome it if I was part of the team."

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& # 39; Energy and buzz & # 39;

The last time Woods did not play was playing between the first two majors of the year in 2008 when he returned to win a remarkable US Open over what was later diagnosed as a broken one. leg.

And the last time he won the first two majors of the year – in 2002 – were the Augusta National and Bethpage Black courses. However, playing the Black in the cool, wetter conditions of May in an American PGA is a different story than the tight, fast set-up of a US Open in June.

"When we arrived here in 2002, this was one of the largest ballparks you have ever seen and it has grown," he added.

"To win this, driving is going to be at the forefront with the rugged and lush as it is."

Watson insists that the sports world will be glued to this week the next chapter of the Woods story, and says his return to the New York region as another great champion will have the already noisy rush at fever.

"The atmosphere alone around Tiger and Tiger & # 39; s group alone will be overwhelming, the energy and excitement that will be here," Watson added. "It will be a pleasure to be part of it. But you want to take it off the pedestal."

READ: Tiger Woods & Great Career by the Figures

Bethpage Rediscovered

The Black was opened in 1936 as one of the now five public courses at Bethpage State Park on Long Island. Designed by the renowned architect A.W. Tillinghast, it had a reputation for a long time as a formidable course, but in the early 1990s it had fallen into disrepair.

David B. Fay, director of the United States Golf Association (USGA), had heard rumors about his greatness and knew the stories of golfers who slept in their cars at night for a start time to get.

Intrigued, he set off on a November afternoon in November. He saw beyond the fragile bunkers and the poor condition of the course, he had his revelation when he reached the tee of the tree-lined par-fourth fourth hole with his famous cross bunkers and elevated fairway on the other side.

"That's when I knew," Fay is quoted in John Feinstein's book "Open", the story of how the US Open came to the Black.

"It hit me right there."

There were countless obstacles – "a million ifs" – in the way, but Fay drove away, convinced that the Black could be an open US location.

Looking forward to 2002 and Bethpage Black became the first public and operated course for the US Open.

Woods was the only player to test the tournament and win the 102nd US Open with three shots from Phil Mickelson for his eighth title. Bethpage held the event again in 2009 when Lucas Glover won and has since organized two PGA Tour events. It is also set to host the Ryder Cup in 2024.

Grand Slam quest

While Woods & # 39; s tilt is the biggest story in the city in a 16th major, other notable stories can come to the fore. Jordan Spieth makes his third attempt to crown the career grand slam of all four major titles.

After winning the Masters and US Open in 2015 and the Open in 2017, this week's win could bring Spieth to the elite list of Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Woods to to win the big four golf events.

However, the 25-year-old has not won since he riveted the Open at Royal Birkdale and is in a 39th place in the world.

Then there is Brooks Koepka, the world No.3, who is the title defender and the winner of three of the last eight majors.

The mighty 29-year-old has become one of the most dominant players in the game and became second behind Woods in Augusta, after he had held back the reviving former world No. 1 to triumph in the US PGA at Bellerive last August.

However, the last player to win back-to-back US PGA titles was in 2007. His name? Tiger woods.

Woods will play the first two rounds with Koepka and British Open champion Francesco Molinari, the man he conquered to win at Augusta. They turn off at 8:24 PM EST Thursday.

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