Woods sees Conway Farms for first time Wednesday
Thursday, September 12, 2013
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – This week’s BMW Championship features an $8 million purse that includes $1.44 million for the winner. On top of that, players will try to improve their position and thus chances to win the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus at the Tour Championship next week.
Despite those dangling carrots, Tiger Woods, No. 2 in the FedEx standings, did not play a practice round other than the Wednesday pro-am. It’s the first time he got a look at Conway Farms, the tournament’s new venue.
It underscores that we are not at a major championship, where Woods comes in early to prepare. It makes one wonder how ready Woods will be come Thursday’s first round. And it makes one wonder if there’s too much money in golf, at least for some people, if there’s so little preparation despite the potential high rewards.
For certain, pro-am day was different for him.
“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 (Tuesday),” Woods said.
It helps that his caddie, Joe LaCava, did scout the course for a couple of days. The two spent considerable time Wednesday discussing target lines off tees.
Familiarity is brought up because it has been Woods’ ally over the years. He has won in bunches on courses with which he is familiar and comfortable: Torrey Pines, Bay Hill, Firestone, Muirfield Village, Doral. In fact, seven of his eight victories since early March last year have come on courses where he has played at least nine tournaments.
Woods, of course, also has had considerable success in the Chicago area. He has won two PGA Championships at Medinah and five times at Cog Hill (three Western Opens, two BMWs).
That fact spawned an interesting give-and-take Wednesday.
Questioner: What do you consider your single greatest moment in Chicago?
Woods: “Probably Medinah, winning there twice.”
Questioner: Which one?
Woods: “I said winning there twice (laughter).”
Dogged questioner: “I said the single greatest moment.”
Woods: “Winning there twice.”
Woods had the last word in that exchange. And there was no mention of his loss at Medinah – as a member of the losing U.S. team at last year’s Ryder Cup.
As for Conway Farms, Woods, like many other players, expects scores to be low, which is not ideal for a playoff event.
“If you drive the ball well here,” he said, “you’re going to have a lot of 8-irons on down, and those are some scoring clubs. There’s a lot of funneling where you can get to some of these pins. You don’t have to fire right at the flag; you can funnel it in there. You can get the ball pretty stiff.”