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Opinion: The new Tiger Woods defies logic so there's no reason he won't win PGA Championship

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 4 days ago Christine Brennan

Is it too much to ask, Tiger winning another major little more than a month after the Masters? Can a man who hasn’t hit one competitive shot between his final putt April 14 at Augusta National and his opening tee shot Thursday morning in the PGA Championship be in the mix come Sunday? Does a 43-year-old golfer with the back of a 70-year-old have it in him to do this again?

Why not?

Sometimes sports is logical, other times it’s magical. Tiger Woods won the Masters by making almost no mistakes on Sunday while his competitors all fell apart. Four players who were in or near the lead in the final round watched their tee shots on the par-3 12th hole fall into Rae’s Creek. One by one, into the drink they went. The more you think about that, the more remarkable it is.

Tiger never made an eagle in winning his fifth Masters. He never made a double bogey. It was all about steady, unspectacular play. That’s logic.

All the best young players giving away their chance to win, leaving Tiger as the last man standing? That’s magic.

And so we come to Bethpage Black and the PGA, placed so perfectly on the golf calendar that it seems like it was put there by the golf gods. Tiger has fond memories of this course; he won the 2002 U.S. Open here.

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Does it matter that he hasn’t played a tournament between the Masters and the PGA? One would think it does, a lot. But this is the new Tiger. (Come to think of it, perhaps we’re on the new new new new Tiger by now. I’ve lost count.)

He obviously knows how to prepare for big tournaments. In his last three majors, he finished tied for sixth, second and first. He also won the Tour Championship last September. So when he says he’s good, let’s trust it.

“Prior to playing, I feel great,” he told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. “I wanted to play at Quail Hollow (two weeks ago), but to be honest with you, I wasn't ready yet to start the grind of practicing and preparing and logging all those hours again. … I was feeling good in the gym, but I wasn't mentally prepared to log in the hours.

“Coming here is a different story. I was able to log in the hours, put in the time and feel rested and ready. That's going to be the interesting part going forward: how much do I play and how much do I rest? I think I've done a lot of the legwork and the hard work already, trying to find my game over the past year and a half. Now I think it's just maintaining it. I know that I feel better when I'm fresh. The body doesn't respond like it used to, doesn't bounce back quite as well, so I've got to be aware of that.

a man wearing a hat: Woods catches a ball as he practices on the driving range Tuesday. © Provided by USA Today Sports Media Group LLC Woods catches a ball as he practices on the driving range Tuesday.

Tiger said he is “feeling really good,” adding that he has been “doing a lot of practicing of late – not in sweaters – so this is a little bit different." He did not show up at the course to practice Wednesday. 

The temperature will be in the 50s when Tiger tees off Thursday morning. It’s going to rain Friday. The thermometer probably will never see 70. Welcome to the British Open.

The weather impacts every player in the tournament, obviously, but it becomes the great unknown in any conversation about Tiger’s chances.

“I don't know how sore I'm going to be the next morning,” he said. “I don't. That's the fickle nature of having my back fused. Some days I have more range of motion. Some days I don't. Some days I ache more, and sometimes I don't. There's more volatility, put it that way. There's more days I feel older than my age than I do younger than my age. That's one of the trickier things.

“And then you add the golf component to it. You know, being a little bit older and with the back the way it is, there's a lot of concerns, and when it comes to what do I need to do to get ready and be ready to go and sometimes the quick turnarounds may be a little bit more difficult."

Logic says Tiger doesn’t stand a chance. But magic? It probably has other ideas.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: The new Tiger Woods defies logic so there's no reason he won't win PGA Championship

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