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SPORT Tiger looks ominous as PGA Championship nears

Scott gets first chance to recover from Open meltdown at Akron

By Jeev Milkha Singh, Special To Gulf News
July 31, 2012

We are at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, for the World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational this week, and all talks centre around the possibility of Tiger Woods winning the tournament for a record eighth time since 1999.

Considering he did not play in 2008 because of his knee injury, and was tied 37th and 78th the last two years as he struggled with his swing and personal life, it is one heck of a record to have. It shows how comfortable he is around the golf course, which is a long and demanding one.

Woods will again be the favourite as he tries to win his fourth title on the US PGA Tour, and if he manages to get his eighth title in Akron, I have a feeling he will be in a great position going into next week’s PGA Championship in Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course to win his 15th Major title.

There were some who thought Tiger was nowhere near his best during last month’s Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Anne’s, and yet he managed to finish third. If not for that one hole in the front nine where he took a triple bogey, the result could have been much different.

But Tiger is not the only story of the week and there will be great interest around how defending champion Adam Scott fares after his Open Championship heartbreak. It is Adam’s first tournament after he made those four bogeys over the last four closing holes, a mistake that Ernie Els took full advantage of and won his fourth Major title in style.

Example of McIlroy

I know it is easier said than done, but Adam will have to put the past behind him and treat the tournament as a new week. He is a typical Aussie that way — he just loves competing. I think the best example he can keep in mind as he plays these two big tournaments in two weeks is Rory McIlroy and how he came back from his Masters meltdown over the back nine on the Sunday last year.

Talking of McIlroy, a lot has been written about his lack of form, but I watched a fair bit of one of his rounds at the Open Championship and I thought the young man is not too far away from producing the kind of form that helped him become the world No. 1 earlier this year.

Personally, I am excited about these two weeks and they could not have come at a better time. I am playing well and that makes me very optimistic about my chances. A lot of world ranking points are available in Akron and Kiawah and it can help me achieve my goal for the season — to finish inside the top-50 of the world ranking.

— Jeev Milkha Singh is a four-time champion on the European Tour

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