Tiger likes Chicago…and Chicago loves Tiger.
Woods, who’s in town for the BMW Championship, is no stranger to winning in Chicago with a pair of PGA wins at Medinah and four more at Cog Hill. It’s not surprising that he is once again favored by many to walk away with the whole enchilada–that being leg-three of the coveted FedExCup that would most likely make him a shoe-in for the first place purse after next week’s finale. (Woods is currently second behind Henrik Stenson).
This week’s BMW Championship is made up of the top 70 players in the FedEx Cup rankings. Tournament play begins Thursday in the no-cut event. The top 30 finishers in FedEx Cup points at the finish of Sunday’s final round will advance to the finale in Atlanta next week.
Woods spoke to the media today proclaiming the Conway Farms Golf Course to be in “absolutely perfect shape.”
Tiger also seems to be in perfect shape telling the media that he is up to speed after a week of treatment and strengthening on his back. He said he was able to start practicing near the end of last week and is ready for tournament play. Of course, nothing is a given. The next four days of competition should be as hot as the record-breaking temperatures the first three days of this week.
Tiger played the course for the first time today in the Gardner Heidrick Pro-Am (Evans Scholar Alumni Fundraiser)…teeing off at 7 a.m. and followed by a large gallery.
When Woods was asked if it was unusual for him to play in a tournament on a course he has never played before, he nodded saying, “Yeah, that’s where I have to rely on Joey (his caddy, Joe LaCava) a little bit.” He admitted to doing a little more work than normal today in preparation for the Championship saying “I normally don’t work this hard in a Pro-Am, but I had to do a little bit of work because I wasn’t out here yesterday. Trying to get the speed of the greens a little bit. They were a little bit quicker early on, slowed up a little bit as the day went on.” He is also keeping a close eye on the weather as that may have a huge effect on the outcome.
Tiger predicts that the scores are going to be low noting that “It’ll be interesting to see what happens on Friday, if the weather is supposed to be what it’s supposed to be, and if we get a different wind and different temperature where the ball is not traveling like it is now. It’ll be a totally different golf course with the greens being a lot faster because they’ll obviously be dry, and the fairways will dry out a little bit, but obviously the ball won’t be carrying as far.”
In comparing Conway to other Chicago courses he’s played, Tiger said “it’s very different compared to Cog Hill and Medinah, but it (Conway) is a nice track. It’s a little confined in the sense that it’s going to be interesting to see how they’re going to get the gallery around here on the front nine, especially around the bottlenecks over on 5 and 6.”
Woods calls Chicago “a great sporting town that comes out and supports their events.” He is expecting the BMW Championship to have “a fun crowd.” If today’s super-sized attendance (for a Pro-Am) is any indication…it looks like he’s right on target.
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