Woods needs ‘big week’ to se­cure spot in At­lanta

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By James Cor­ri­gan golf cor­re­spon­dent

Tiger Woods be­lieves that the BMW Cham­pi­onship, which starts to­day in Illi­nois, will be more akin to a se­vere US Open test than the nor­mal PGA Tour birdie-fest.

And that could be apt for the 15time ma­jor win­ner as he recog­nises that if he does not pro­duce “a big week”, the US Open will be the next event in which he plays.

Woods is in 57th po­si­tion in the FedEx Cup play-off stand­ings and needs at least a top-five fin­ish to leap into the top 30 who will qual­ify for next week’s Tour Cham­pi­onship in At­lanta, where the cham­pion will en­joy a $15mil­lion payday.

“I have to play well and earn my way to East Lake,” Woods said. “I haven’t done so yet and need a big week this week in or­der to ad­vance. If I don’t, then I go home.”

Woods would then not be seen un­til the na­tional cham­pi­onship two weeks later at Winged Foot, the famed New York venue where he missed the first ma­jor cut of his ca­reer in 2006.

With only five com­pet­i­tive out­ings so far this year, Woods would plainly like an­other tour­na­ment be­fore the year’s sec­ond ma­jor and, with this in mind, is glad that the Olympia Fields chal­lenge will be far more search­ing than that of TPC Bos­ton where coun­try­man Dustin John­son shot a record 30 un­der to win on Sun­day.

“This course is set up more like a US Open than it is a reg­u­lar tour event, but this is the play-offs and it’s sup­posed to be hard,” Woods said. “Last week, I think might have been a lit­tle out­lier be­cause of the weather. The greens were soft and re­cep­tive, and the ma­jor­ity of the field went low and then DJ went ab­surdly low. That won’t be the case this week.”

Rory McIl­roy, who played a prac­tice round with Woods yes­ter­day, is al­most guar­an­teed his spot in At­lanta at 12th in the rank­ings, al­though he will be chas­ing as high a fin­ish pos­si­ble to give him­self more of a chance in the weighted Tour Cham­pi­onship field.

Mean­while, in 17th place, Tyrrell Hat­ton also would need a very poor week not to ad­vance.

But fel­low English­men Matt Fitz­patrick (60th) and Paul Casey (64th) know that only a top four and a top three re­spec­tively will do the job.

Driv­ing force: Tiger Woods prac­tises ahead of the BMW Cham­pi­onship in Illi­nois

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