US PGA Championship: Tiger Woods says playing a major with no fans is ‘an unknown’

Tiger Woods celebrates on the 18th hole after winning the 2019 Masters
Tiger Woods celebrated winning his 15th major last year – but there will be no fans at the US PGA this weekend
Date: 6-9 August Venue: TPC Harding Park, San Francisco
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and text updates on the BBC Sport website across all four days

Tiger Woods has said playing in front of no fans at the US PGA Championship will be stepping into the unknown.

The event at TPC Harding Park, put back from May because of the coronavirus pandemic, is 2020’s first major.

Woods, 44, won the WGC-American Express Championship there in 2005, saying the “electric” atmosphere for his play-off with John Daly left him “half deaf”.

“This is going to be very different,” said the American. “But it’s still a major so there’ll be plenty of energy.”

Relatively cold, damp conditions are forecast for the event in San Francisco, and Woods knows the area well, having often played there as a junior and while at Stanford University.

Besides his 2005 win at Harding Park, the only other occasion the 15-time major winner has played the course as a professional was in 2009, winning all five of his matches as USA won the Presidents Cup.

“It’s going to be playing longer,” he added. “It’s heavy air whether the wind blows or not. The ball doesn’t fly very far here.

“This is going to be a fun test for all of us. The rough is up and fairways are much more narrow than they were here in 2009.”

Woods celebrated “for quite some time” after ending his 11-year major drought by winning the Masters in April 2019 and missed the cut five weeks later when returning to action at the US PGA, when Brooks Koepka retained his title.

After five months out due to injury and the pandemic, Woods has played just one event since the lockdown, finishing in a tie for 40th at the Memorial Tournament last month.

But asked if he could win the US PGA for a record-equalling fifth time, he said: “Of course. I feel good. I haven’t played much competitively but I’ve been playing a lot at home so I’ve been getting plenty of reps that way.

“I’m very enthusiastic about some of the changes I’ve made. I’m just trying to get my way back into this part of the season.

“This is what I’ve been gearing up for. We’ve got a lot of big events starting from here, so I’m looking forward to it.”

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