Woods needs ‘big week’ to secure spot in Atlanta
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