Tiger Woods may have made an inauspicious start at this week’s Bridgestone invitational, but one thing is for certain, if he does win, he stands an excellent chance at Kiawah Island.
Based on his record though, if he doesn’t win at Firestone, he won’t win the PGA Championship.
Granted, the Bridgestone Invitational (formerly the NEC Invitational) used to take place two weeks after the fourth and final major of the year, but the fact still remains: Woods has never won the PGA Championship in a year when he hasn’t also triumphed at Firestone (1999, 2000, 2006 and 2007).
In 2007, the event was rescheduled to proceed the PGA. Ominously, only six golfers have won the week before a major and gone on to take the crown the following week: Ralph Guldahl, 1939 (Masters); Art Wall, 1959 (Masters); Lee Trevino, 1971 (The Open); Sandy Lyle, 1988 (Masters); Phil Mickelson, 2007 (PGA Championship) and, you guessed it, Woods in 2007.
Woods’ name would also appear again in that list, had it not been for the heroics of YE Yang in 2009, who played the best round of his life – including one of the best pressure shots of all time – to out duel Woods on a Sunday of a major championship.
One thing is for sure, the perceived disadvantage of winning the week before a major certainly doesn’t apply to Woods. If he wins his eighth title at Firestone, based on previous statistics, he has a 50/50 chance of winning his fifth PGA Championship and 15th major at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course. If he wins at Firestone, I know where my money is going.
How winners at Firestone have fared the next week at the PGA Championship (since 2007):
2007 – Tiger Woods – 1st/1st
2008 – Vijay Singh – 1st/MC
2009 – Tiger Woods – 1st/2nd
2010 – Hunter Mahan – 1st/T39th
2011 – Adam Scott – 1st/7th