By this time of the year, many golfers face the rising pressure of being on the bubble of entering the FedEx Cup Playoffs, and subsequently advancing through the four weeks of competition.
One of those players on the bubble is the world's greatest, fourteen-time major champion Tiger Woods. Currently sitting in 113th place in the points race, Woods will most likely have two chances to ensure he even makes the playoff field at the Barclays.
His chances will come this week at Firestone and at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. This week, Woods will defend his title at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he has dominated the field seven times. This may be the best chance for Woods to finally win this year, as nobody has dethroned Woods at Firestone since 2004, when Stewart Cink defeated Woods by 4 strokes (Woods was absent in 2008, when Vijay Singh won).
Then, the scene shifts to Whistling Straits, a place where Woods may experience some deja vu. When the course last hosted the PGA in 2004, Woods was in a drought of nine majors without a win. He went on to finish in a tie for 24th place, six strokes off the lead. This year, Woods enters a drought of nine major championships without a win. Woods putting struggles, bad karma, and dismal performance at Whistling Strait may prevent him from hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy this year.
However, if Woods performs at least fairly at these two tournaments, he should have no problem entering the playoff field. But he may be in trouble after that, as the Barclays returns to Ridgewood CC, a place where Woods has never won, and did not compete when the tournament last came to the course in 2008.
If Woods can survive the playoff cut at the Barclays, he may be able to make a historic run for the Cup. But experience is not on his side at the PGA and the Barclays, and Tiger Woods could very well make an early exit from the playoffs this season.