2013 PGA Championship

WGC-Bridgestone: Is Tiger Woods Playing Mind Games by Bashing Oak Hill Greens?

AKRON, OH - AUGUST 01:  Tiger Woods hits off the 13th tee during the First Round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 1, 2013 in Akron, Ohio.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2013

Tiger Woods was frank in his assessment of Oak Hill, the site of next week's PGA Championship.

Woods played a practice round at Oak Hill Wednesday, and he appeared to be unhappy with the conditions of the greens. He told Bob Harig of ESPN they were "spotty" and said he thought that the PGA officials would do what they could to get the greens to the proper speed before the tournament got underway Thursday. 

"They don't have much thatch to them," he said, "so it'll be interesting to see what they do for the tournament and how much they're able to speed them up with kind of a lack of grass."

In this video, the look on Woods' face is that of concern, as in how will he or any of the top contenders handle the substandard putting surfaces throughout the run of the tournament.

But then when you take a deeper look, it begs the question of whether Woods is bothered at all.

Good conditions or poor conditions, Tiger has full confidence in his abilities. He's not going to go into any tournament—major or otherwise—thinking the conditions of the course are going to cause problems for him.

However, he also knows that not all of his fellow competitors have his inner confidence.

Woods may believe he can play under any circumstances, but poor putting surfaces could cause problems for some of his rivals.

Most players feel some kind of anxiety before the start of any major, and if they hear Tiger raising a complaint about the condition of the course, they may feel a bit more anxious than they usually do.

So, Woods could be playing head games with his fellow golfers. There is no doubt about his intensity and how much he wants to win a big tournament like the PGA. He has not won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open. He will go to any legal length to win, and if that includes giving his competitors something to think about, he will do just that.

Usually, Woods exerts his pressure on the course. His determination in any competitive round is palpable, and it goes up dramatically in a major tournament. You can read it in the way he walks the fairways, studies his shots, starts walking on the green just as playing partner hits his putt and from the tunnel-vision focus on his face.

Tiger is now putting a little heat on before he and his fellow pros tee off at this storied course that has been the site of the U.S. Open, the PGA, the U.S. Amateur and the Ryder Cup in the past. If there are difficulties with the condition of the course a week prior to the start of the fourth major, course officials still have the opportunity to make it much better. Perhaps not perfect, but better than it was when Woods played his practice round.

Nobody knows this better than Woods himself.

However, he has done what he needs to do. He has given Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Brandt Snedeker and Adam Scott something to think about.

Some will give his words weight, while others will let them go in one ear and out the other.

Tiger Woods knows what he is doing. He is not speaking out just to hear his own voice. He has a purpose, and he's trying to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of the weak.

We'll find out next week just how effective his words have been.

 

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