Tiger Woods will be making his bid for a fifth PGA Championship title this week at Whistling Straits, but after the worst performance of his professional career last week at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, many questions surround the current world #1 golfer’s game. Questions are coming from all angles on topics including who might be his next coach (Sean Foley?) and what he’s working on this week (with caddie Steve Williams) to get his game in order by Thursday. As bad as he played last week, you can never count Tiger completely out of any tournament he enters — there’s still the possibility he could contend, and even win, if he finds something that works for his swing this week. And once Tiger gets his game in order he is sure to return to being the favorite in just about any tournament he enters.
Here we look back at Tiger’s four winning performances at the PGA Championship, in years when he was certainly a favorite to win the Wanamaker trophy:
1999 at Medinah Country Club
Tiger won his first PGA Championship title (and second major) at Medinah Country Club, beating highly touted 19-year-old upstart Sergio Garcia by one stroke. Tiger had a five-stroke lead with seven strokes to play, but managed to drop four shots in the next five holes. In the end Tiger held off Garcia, whose shot from behind a tree on 16 and subsequent run and jump to see the result, became one of the most memorable moments of the tournament.
2000 at Valhalla Golf Club
In one of the more exciting final round (and playoff) battles in major championship history, Tiger outlasted journeyman Bob May in a duel that saw both players make clutch putts down the stretch. Tiger made birdie at 17 to pull even with May, then both May and Woods made dramatic birdie putts on the final hole of regulation to send the championship to a three-hole playoff. After Tiger made birdie and May made par on the first playoff hole, both players made par on the second. On the third playoff hole Tiger made par, and May just missed his 40-foot birdie putt that would have extended the playoff, leaving Woods to hoist the Wanamaker trophy for the second time.
2006 at Medinah Country Club
After winning the 2006 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, Tiger held the field at arms length on PGA Championship Sunday to win his third title (and second at Medinah). Woods birdied the first hole on Sunday and never looked back. He built his lead to four shots going into the back nine, and could have threatened or broken his major championship scoring record of -19 (set at the 2000 Open Championship at St. Andrews) had he pressed harder on the back nine. But a solid tee to green performance saw Tiger win his 12th major by five shots with a final score of -18.
2007 at Southern Hills Country Club
Major championship golf returned to Southern Hills (after it hosted the 2001 U.S. Open), and the tournament field was greeted by scorching temperatures and a dominating performance by Tiger Woods. After a 1-over-par 71 in round 1, Tiger posted a 63 in round 2 to take the lead by two shots. Tiger’s 63 tied the record for low single-round score at a major, and had his putt not lipped out on 18 he would have owned the record outright. In round 3 he upped his lead to three shots over fellow Nike athlete Stephen Ames. In round 4 Tiger increased his lead to four shots, then held off a charging Woody Austin who closed to within one of Woods’ lead, until Tiger birdied 15 and made par on 16, 17 and 18 to claim the title by two shots. Round 4 was also highlighted by a 6-under-par 64 by fellow Nike athlete Simon Dyson.
It’s sure to be an exciting week of golf at Whistling Straits, but we’ll have to wait until Sunday to see if Tiger can get his game in line to win a fifth Wanamaker trophy.