The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

August 8, 2013

PGA Championship caters to 1st-time major winners

(Continued)

"I think that gives (the PGA) its own unique position," Rose said. "Each major has its own identity and its own sort of personality. But I would say this one does relate to a regular event a little more than the others."

Indeed, the PGA Championship does have a bit of an also-ran feeling compared to the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. In this country, NFL training camps have opened and the baseball pennant races are starting to heat up, stealing away much of the attention from other sports, golf included.

Maybe that helps relieve some of the pressure on less-accomplished players, allowing them to sneak in for a major title against more prominent competitors. Maybe that explains how Y.E. Yang rallied to beat Woods at Hazeltine in 2009 when the world's No. 1 player had a lead after 54 holes — the only time he's blown an advantage heading into the final round of a major.

Since then, Woods has endured some radical changes in his life — on and off the course.

Woods, who had a morning tee time, hasn't won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open. He's 0-for-17 since then, the longest drought of his career.

These days, there are plenty of players who aren't the least bit intimidated by Woods' towering presence. Sure, he still wins more than anyone else — this season alone, he's got five victories and holds the world's No. 1 ranking — but just breaking out the red shirt on Sunday no longer means everyone else will be raising a white flag.

There are too many players who feel they can match Woods' exquisite game.

"The depth and quality of the field is pretty remarkable now, especially at the majors," Mahan said. "When I first joined the tour, it seemed like there was maybe a handful of guys who could win and had a legitimate chance."

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