Bethpage Black on Long Island will host the next golf major, the PGA Championship, and if Tiger Woods’ comeback victory at the Masters on Sunday is any indication, the hype that weekend will be palpable.
It should be. And far-fetched as it may seem, Woods’ quest for Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships is back in play. Two years ago, it seemed like Woods would never play competitive golf again following his fourth back surgery. After Sunday’s win at Augusta, Woods sits at 15 majors and can fully resume his historic chase.
Early odds have Tiger at 8:1 to add another major title next month.
Is catching Jack likely? It’s still a helluva tall order. Is it possible, if his he stays healthy? Absolutely.
As of right now, Tiger is basking in the moment.
“I really haven’t thought about that yet,” Woods said. “I’m sure that I’ll probably think of it going down the road. But right now, it’s a little soon, and I’m just enjoying 15.”
Winning the 2019 Masters was no fluke--Woods proved he can win again with last year’s season-ending Tour Championship. But don’t forget, Tiger was in the mix at the British Open and PGA Championship last season, too. He briefly led the British Open on the back nine in the final round. Being in the mix at three straight majors is no easy task--and a bad sign for Woods’ foes.
So Woods needs three majors to tie, four to break Nicklaus’ record. The Masters should be in play for him at least 5-6 more seasons. One more ties The Golden Bear for six Green Jackets.
Plus, the rest of this season's major slate looks favorable for Woods.
In May, the PGA Championship comes to Bethpage Black. Woods won the U.S. Open there in 2002 and was in contention in the final round in 2009 before Lucas Glover won.
In June, the U.S. Open returns to Pebble Beach. Woods won a major there, too, in 2000.
In July, the British Open will be at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. That one’s a toss-up for the field.
The PGA Tour has set up the schedule differently this year, moving the PGA to May and starting the FedEx Cup earlier so it’s finished before the NFL season starts. It’s more of sprint this year, without the longer layoff between the Masters in April and the U.S. Open in June.
A sprint potentially favors a player who gets hot at the right time. Winning the Masters qualifies as being hot.
If Woods can get one more major this year or next to get to 16, then the race will really be on.
Count Brooks Koepka as a believer.