Tiger Woods to enter unknown no-fans territory
Woods got an early taste of his changed environment on Tuesday during a media briefing
Tiger Woods is preparing for a journey into the unknown as he heads into this week's PGA Championship hunting for a 16th major championship against the surreal backdrop of a deserted course at TPC Harding Park. Throughout his career, the former World No. 1 has become accustomed to roaring galleries following his every shot, providing a jolt of energy that Woods has fed off time and again. Yet this week's PGA Championship in San Francisco will be different.
Restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 mean that the first major of 2020 will be a fan-free, muted affair. Woods got an early taste of his changed environment on Tuesday during a media briefing. Where in the past, a scrum of reporters would have attended. On Tuesday, only a handful of journalists were present. "Well, that's an unknown," Woods said when asked about how the absence of fans might affect his chances.
"I don't know if anyone in our generation has ever played without fans in a major championship. It's going to be very different. But it's still a major championship. It's still the best players in the world. We all understand that going into it, so there's going to be plenty of energy from the competitive side. "But as far as the energy outside the ropes, that is an unknown. And hopefully I can put myself in a position where I can be in that position where I can feel what it feels like to have no fans and also coming down the stretch with a chance to win."
Woods' former caddie, New Zealander Steve Williams, is among those who believe that the lack of fans might prove to be a hindrance. "With that element missing, for someone who hasn't played a lot of tournament golf this year, it'll be challenging for Tiger to find that spark he needs," Williams said this week.
Woods experienced new fan-less reality at the Memorial Tournament last month, at Muirfield Village, in Dublin, Ohio. He finished tied for 40th.
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