PGA Championship 2019: Nick Faldo says ‘Bethpage will beat Tiger this week’
Nick Faldo will be in the broadcast booth for CBS Sports at the 18th hole, where the winner of the 101st PGA Championship will be crowned this week at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y. But the CBS golf analyst and commentator does not believe that he will be seeing Tiger Woods lift the Wanamaker Trophy on Long Island.
“[Tiger’s] not going to win,” Faldo told Irish Golf Desk. “No, no, no. Bethpage will beat Tiger this week. The beast will beat the Tiger.”
Faldo, a six-time major champion himself, said that the chilly conditions and tall rough at Bethpage are disadvantageous to Tiger’s back, which has undergone four procedures in the last decade.
“You’ve just got to hit the fairways,” Faldo said. “It’s a brute. There is no let up on any hole or any shot on this course. If you hit it in thick stuff, you have to be really defensive and chip it out safely.”
“If you’re in the second cut you have to pray to get it back into play,” Faldo continued. “You have to do it all week long here, big par-3s, unless the weather really breaks. It’s going to be a brute. Close to level par will get close.”
During a media conference call last week, Faldo expressed his concern over Tiger heading into the PGA Championship because the 15-time major champion had not played in a tournament since his victory at the Masters in April.
Rather than try to win the PGA this week, Faldo recommended that the 81-time PGA Tour winner focus on winning majors in warm weather climates such as the Masters.
“When he won in 100 degrees in Atlanta [last year] he went to the Ryder Cup where it was colder, and his swing was shorter,” Faldo said. “I’m interested to see how he copes with changing conditions. That back must be bionic. But they will all have it tough.”
Faldo believes that Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Francesco Molinari, and Justin Rose will be the ones in contention at the 2019 PGA Championship on Sunday.
“Moli, Rose, Dustin and Brooks are the four I believe will be up there,” Faldo said.
Tiger is going for his fifth PGA Championship this week, which would equal his Masters total (his most-won major). His four PGA titles are the most of any active golfer, and a victory on the Black Course at Bethpage would put Tiger alongside Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen with the most PGA Championship victories at five.
Of course, a 16th major title would also move Tiger within two of the Golden Bear’s record-number of 18.
Despite Faldo’s pessimism, Tiger has played well at Bethpage Black. He captured the U.S. Open, his second of three U.S. Open titles and eighth overall major win, when it was played at Bethpage in 2002. He was the only golfer who finished the tournament under par. Tiger also earned a T6 result at the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage.
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