This is the Morning Win. Nick Schwartz is filling in for Andy Nesbitt.
The 2020 golf season was forced to make some massive alterations to the calendar due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but on Thursday in San Francisco, the first major championship of the year will begin at TPC Harding Park.
Two-time defending PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka and new world No. 1 Justin Thomas are the betting favorites to win this weekend, but all eyes will be on 15-time major champion Tiger Woods, who will try to move one title closer to Jack Nicklaus’ major record by Sunday evening.
Woods is undoubtedly the fan favorite pick at the PGA Championship, but can he actually win it? There’s a case both for and against Woods at TPC Harding Park – but the case that Woods will struggle is undoubtedly stronger.
Why Tiger Woods won’t win a 16th major this weekend:
1. Woods isn’t coming to TPC Harding Park in good form, at least not in tournament conditions. He’s repeatedly told reporters that he feels great and has been gearing up for this tournament specifically, but he’s played just once since the PGA Tour season resumed, at the Memorial Tournament, where he barely made the cut. While it’s not uncommon to see any golfer’s results vary wildly from week to week, the last time we saw Woods on a course, he wasn’t close to looking like a major contender. There’s also the issue of his body…
2. TPC Harding Park is situated just inland from the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco, where Woods will be playing in what are projected to be windy, high 50s/low 60s conditions. Last month at the Memorial, Woods struggled with back tightness during his second round, and told reporters afterward that his body isn’t going to be operating precisely the way he’d like “more times than not.” It’s going to be even tougher for Woods to loosen up in blustery San Francisco this weekend.
3. For the longest time, there was no more intimidating challenge in all of sports than to be the guy playing in a late group alongside Tiger Woods at a major championship. Woods’ gallery is always the biggest on the course wherever he goes, and his rabid fans enhance his signature on-course aura. We’ve seen dozens of golf great crumble under the pressure of a weekend date with Tiger – but Woods won’t be able to lean on the crowd as an advantage this week. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 PGA Championship will be played without fans, which could be a boon for less experienced players.
Why Tiger Woods still has a chance:
1. Woods is really good at TPC Harding Park. The course has never hosted a major before and has only hosted a few big events over the last two decades – but Woods won one of those, the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship, in a playoff over John Daly, of all people. At the 2009 Presidents Cup at Harding Park, Woods dominated with a perfect 5-0 record.
2. It still seems farfetched that Woods will show up and start looking like the No. 1 player in the world out of the blue, but he proved earlier this season that he can win following a long layoff. Woods won the Zozo Championship after a two-month break last October.
Thursday’s biggest winner: Joey Bosa
Chargers star Joey Bosa inked a colossal five-year deal worth $135 million last week, making him one of the highest-paid defensive players in NFL history, and thanks to HBO’s Hard Knocks film crew, we now have footage of the moment Bosa signed the biggest deal of his life. In a great feel-good moment, Bosa got emotional as he recalled what it was like to tell his parents about the contract over the phone.
Quick hits: UConn football cancels season, Dustin May, Fantasy Football team names
— UConn became the first, and likely not the last, FBS program to cancel its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday.
— Dodgers pitcher Dustin May is turning heads in his second season with some mindblowing movement combined with high heat.
— It’s almost Fantasy Football season, and Charles Curtis has you covered with the best team names for 2020.
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