Medinah made
for Tiger Repeat

Aug 15, 2006 10:01 PM

So, who’s going to finish second in the PGA?

You’re just not going to impress anyone picking Tiger Woods to win this week at Medinah, a course he beat to death in 1999 when the PGA championship was last held at this majestic golf course in suburban Chicago that will host the 2012 Ryder Cup.

The course will play over 7,500 yards, longest of any that has ever hosted a major championship. One would think that would put the driver back in Tiger’s hands, but the world’s number 1 is so long with his irons and 3-wood that he may just stay the course that won him the British Open.

Whatever Woods decides, he’s certainly not firing his caddy, like one teenage women’s golfer tends to do when not having won a pro tour event. No, Steve Williams is firmly entrenched on Tiger’s bag and one reason his man is a 2-1 favorite to win his second major of the year and 12th in his future Hall of Fame career.

However, there are no sure things in sports. And, Tiger does lose three of every four tournaments he’s played over his career — far better than anyone in the game. Phil Mickelson is something like 2-for-53. Colin Montgomerie is 0-for his career. You get the picture.

If anyone other than Woods wins at Medinah, it will probably be a golfer that drives the ball straight and long, with the ability to hit greens in regulation. The greens are reported to be off the chart quick, so pars again will be good enough to stick around for the weekend.

Our top picks to contend with Woods include Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk, Chris DiMarco and Retief Goosen. They all drive the ball nice and straight, plus are proven winners and perennial names at the top of the leaderboard on difficult courses.

If you are looking for longshots, try Aaron Oberholser, Davis Love III and a relative unknown. Shaun Micheel won the PGA in 2003, Rich Beem did the same a year before. Maybe someone like Jason Gore or Rory Sabbatini.

We haven’t talked foreign players, but the top of that list could come from Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald.

The length of Medinah could pose problems for Canadian Mike Weir, while Darren Clarke has struggled with his game all year.

As for Medinah, it opened in September, 1928. Course No. 3 has hosted three Western Opens (1939, 1962, 1966), three U.S. Opens, (1949, 1975, 1990) one U.S. Senior Open, (1988) and the 1999 PGA.

Mickelson is the defending champion, but we still don’t think the mental baggage from the U.S. Open choke has left his locker.

It’s basically Tiger’s to lose.