By Ann Liguori
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While the A-Rod scandal has monopolized baseball talk for months now, the golf world has been a breath of fresh air, the only distraction being stunning play.
Tiger Woods’ performance on the course once again has dominated golf headlines all season. And rightly so. He comes into this week’s PGA Championship having blown away the field at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational this past weekend, beating Keegan Bradley and Henrik Stenson by seven shots to win his 79th title (Sam Snead is the PGA’s career leader with 83) and his fifth title of the year.
Everyone will be watching this week to see if Woods can win his 15th major, his first since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torre Pines.
Can he come up with back-to-back wins like Phil Mickelson did in July when he won the Scottish Open the week before raising the Claret Jug?
Woods won the PGA Championship in 2007 at Southern Hills Country Club a week after winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Before then, he won the 2000 U.S. Open, the 2001 Masters and the 2006 PGA Championships the week after winning a title.
Whether Woods’ “A+” game carries over to the fourth and final major on the men’s calender is THE question of the week. Who will get in his way? Mickelson is oozing with confidence after winning the Scottish Open, then the British Open, and earlier, tying for second at the U.S. Open at Merion. Countless other Americans could light up the course including 2011 PGA Champ Keegan Bradley, Matt Kuchar, Brendt Snedeker, Jason Duffner, Zach Johnson, 2012 U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson and Bill Haas, to name a few.
In the women’s game, American Stacy Lewis birdied the last two holes to win the British Open title this past weekend on the Old Course at St. Andrews and ended a streak of 10 straight majors won by Asian players.
Golf fans have been focused on Inbee Park, who was going for her fourth straight major championship at the British Open, after stealing the show at the U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack. Park finished tied for 42nd this past weekend, but winning three straight majors leading up to the British is quite the accomplishment and deserves the attention.
Next on the calender for the top female golfers in the world will be the Solheim Cup, from Aug. 16-18 at Colorado Golf Club.
Morgan Pressel, who finished tied for fourth at the British Open, played her way onto another Solheim Cup team. Michelle Wie is a captain’s pick and has a record in the last two Solheim Cups of 4-3-1.
Here’s to an exciting week of golf in Rochester, where news about the sport can hopefully remain purely about the competition, free of cheating and drug scandals.
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