Plenty on the line for Woods at East Lake
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
ATLANTA – Tiger Woods comes to the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club as the No. 1 seed and the favorite to win the FedEx Cup for a third time in seven years.
With five victories in the 2013 season, Woods has had a very good year by most standards, despite not having won a major championship in a slide that dates to the 2008 U.S. Open.
Another FedEx Cup victory and $10 million bonus certainly would cap off a season in which Woods will win his 10th PGA Tour money title and is the odds-on favorite to claim his 11th Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year honor.
Woods also appears destined to capture his ninth Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average on the PGA Tour.
“I think I’ve had a good run,” Woods said about his trips to East Lake. “I’ve won twice and finished second for times. That’s not bad over the course of my career.”
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Including this year, Woods has entered the playoffs five times as the top-seeded player, but has come to Atlanta as the No. 1 seed only three of those times – winning in 2007 and '09. Woods last won the Vardon, Player of the Year and PGA Tour money title in 2009, too.
“It’s up for grabs, the Player of the Year, the Arnold Palmer Award, the Vardon Trophy and all those things,” Woods said. “The Player of the Year Award is something we hold dearly because it’s the respect of our peers. It’s voted on by our peers.”
In 12 playoff rounds at East Lake, Woods owns a 67.42 stroke average, which should put him in a good position for the week.
But since the playoffs have started, only twice – 2008 (Vijay Singh) and 2009 (Woods) – has the FedEx Cup champion not won the Tour Championship.
“I have felt comfortable on this golf course,” Woods said. “This week’s going to be interesting. We’re going to get some different weather coming in here, and obviously got to make some adjustments.”
Questions emanating from the two-shot penalty Woods received Friday at the BMW Championship also confronted Woods on Wednesday.
The World No. 1 was supportive of Tim Finchem’s comments in the "State of the Tour" address Tuesday, when the commissioner suggested that the Tour needs to look into the issue of outsiders calling about potential rules violations.
Woods, the most scrutinized golfer on the planet, likely is affected most by television call-ins.
“I think that it’s a new age in which there is a lot of cameras that are around – well around my group and then some of the top players,” Woods said. "I get it from the first time I step on the range on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and the way through, and virtually every shot’s on something, and some of the top players getting it.”
Woods also confirmed that he will not participate in the inaugural wraparound season, which in three weeks launches the 2013-14 Tour schedule. He intends to play the Presidents Cup in two weeks and then in Turkey in the newly created Turkish Airlines Open in early November before the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, which benefits his foundation, in early December in Thousand Oaks, Calif.