Tiger Woods Changes Strategy in the Run-Up to the PGA Championship

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2009

TURNBERRY, SCOTLAND - JULY 17:  Tiger Woods of USA leaves the 18th green during round two of the 138th Open Championship on the Ailsa Course, Turnberry Golf Club on July 17, 2009 in Turnberry, Scotland.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Well, playing sparingly and taking the week off prior to every major championship was not cutting it, so let’s just play in them all.

This seems to be Tiger Woods’ new strategy as he prepares for the PGA Championship, which will take place August 13-16 at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.

Despite "parting ways" with long-time sponsor Buick, Woods has committed to play in next week’s Buick Open.

Immediately following the Buick Open, Woods will compete in the Bridgestone Invitational before heading to Minnesota for the year’s final major.

For years now, Woods has typically taken off the week before and after every major championship.

This will mark the first time that Woods will compete in three consecutive events since the 2007 FedEx Cup and demonstrates a clear change in a strategy he's been using for the better part of his career.

Following the PGA Championship, Woods will have 10 days to rest before the start of the FedEx Cup, where he will almost certainly be required to play four events in five weeks if he has any aspirations of winning the 2009 FedEx Cup.

For someone that spends as much time speaking about how he just needs more "reps" to get back on track, Woods has played a very light schedule thus far in 2009.

In the six weeks between the Players Championship and the US Open, Woods played in just won eventThe Memorialwhich he won.

Woods also took his customary week off prior to the British Open after winning the AT&T National.

For any other player, Wood’s accomplishments so far this season would be considered an unbelievably consistent year. In the 10 events he’s attended, Woods has three wins and eight top 10 finishes.

But then again, we stopped compaing Tiger Woods to the rest of the field around a decade ago. It’s all about the majors at this point in Woods’ career, and he is 0-for-3 so far this season.  

Woods’ inconsistency comes down to just one thing, and it’s neither the knee nor the eight-month layoffit’s his newly reconstructed golf swing.

Woods trusts his golf swing right now about as much as he’d trust Bernie Madoff to manage his stock portfolio from the slammer.

As much as he may deny it, or avoid the subject all together, Woods has clearly changed his swing in an effort to take some of the pressure off of his surgically repaired left knee.  

Woods has made less drastic swing changes on several occasions during his career, and each time, it has taken him longer than expected to fully adjust. So, it should come as no surprise that while undergoing what would have to be the most dramatic swing changes of his career, Woods' consistency has suffered.

The good news is that each time Woods has undergone a swing change, he has eventually returned to his same dominant form.

The unknown variable this time is that he is undergoing a swing change while also recovering from knee surgery and more than eight months away from the game, which is something that he’s never gone through before.

Over the next two and a half months, Woods will certainly get in a lot of those "reps" he's been talking about so often. Unless he decides to skip a playoff event, thus more or less forfeiting any chance of winning the FedEx Cup, Woods will play six out of the next 10 weeks.

If Woods is unsuccessful at the PGA Championship and is still baffled by the end of the FedEx Cup, don’t be surprised if you see Hank Haney spending a little more time with Charles Barkley during the offseason.

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