With Time Warner feuding with CBS over contract negotiations, the cable company blacked out the network over the weekend in three major cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. That meant TV coverage of the last two rounds of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational were unavailable to millions of potential viewers.
No big deal, though — thanks to Tiger Woods taking a massive lead at the halfway mark and blowing away the closest competitors by seven shots (and you could’ve watched the snooze-fest online).
On Sunday afternoon, Woods shot even-par 70 to wrap up his fifth title of the season and 79th on the PGA Tour. Add Firestone CC to the list of courses where he’s won eight times. The other two are Bay Hill and Torrey Pines.
“Can I play six holes on each?” he cracked.
Despite yet another runaway victory, the focus in his post-win presser was on the upcoming PGA Championship at Oak Hill. Woods will attempt to follow Phil Mickelson’s steps in winning back-to-back weeks, including a major. Prior to Phil’s feat last month, the last player to do so was Woods in 2007 when he won at Firestone and then the subsequent week at the PGA.
“No, zero,” said Woods when asked if he saw any parallels between his game now and in 2007. “I had a totally different golf swing back then compared to now.”
OK, well, performance-wise, though?
“Performance‑wise, yeah; scoring‑wise, yeah,” he said. “But for me it’s hard to relate because it’s a totally different emotion, and it’s Southern Hills versus Oak Hill, two very different golf courses.
“This golf course is very similar to Oak Hill, but Oak Hill is much more difficult obviously, and with it being more penal with the rough being up, it’ll be interesting to see what they do with the greens, how much speed can they add to it and what’s going to happen come Thursday.”
Woods was asked about his expectations heading into the last major of the year.
“You know what, Oak Hill is going to be a golf course where we’re going to have to make a lot of pars, there’s no doubt,” he said. “If you have an opportunity to make a birdie, you’d better because there aren’t a whole lot of opportunities to make them. There are a few holes that you can be aggressive on and maybe a few pin locations that if you have the right situation you can be pretty aggressive to it, but otherwise it’s going to be a tough golf course.
“The rough was already up when I played it on Tuesday. It was already up then. It has another week of getting thicker and more lush. And I don’t know what they’re going to top that out at by game time come Thursday, but I think that it’ll be a very, very difficult championship. I forgot what the winning score was, maybe just a few under par when Shaun (Micheel) won in (2003), but it was playing hard, and I think it may be playing even harder this year.”
Tiger had a special guest watching on the 72nd green at Firestone on Sunday — his son, Charlie, watched his dad win for the first time.
“That’s what makes it special for both of us,” said Woods. “He’s never seen me win a golf tournament. Sam was there when I won the U.S. Open in ’08, and she loves to look at the YouTube videos and back to daddy. She loves looking at that, and Charlie has never had that, never felt what it’s like to be with the trophy.
“They always say, daddy, when are you going to win the tournament? It was a few years there, or a couple years, I hadn’t won anything in a while. Last couple years have been a little bit better, and they always want to know what place I’m in. Are you leading or not? That’s always a stock question. Not leading. Well, are you going to start leading? Well, I’m trying.
“This week was nice. I was able to get the lead and I held it, and it was awfully special for me to have him here to witness it because he understands it now. He understands when I make birdie, when I make par, and he understands the difference. It’s awfully special to share that kind of moment.”
Taking a page out of Phil’s book isn’t a bad idea.
Now, had badly does Tiger want to break his winless drought at majors with another W at Oak Hill for his 15th big one?
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “As far as wanting it more than any other, no. It’s the same. Those are the events that we try and peak for and try and win.
“There’s four of them a year, and next week, as I said, it’s important for me to get some rest come Monday and Tuesday and do some light work but make sure it’s clean work…Basically just try and get a feel for the golf course and how it’s playing. Do I want it any more? No, it’s the same. Each and every major, I always want them. I’ve been successful 14 times, and hopefully next week will be 15.”