Tiger Woods's winat the Buick Open in Grand Blanc, Mich., was his 50th on the PGA Tour, makinghim the youngest of the seven players who have reached that milestone. That'simpressive, but other numbers were more portentous, especially heading into thePGA Championship at Medinah. During the Buick, Woods hit 81.9% of the greens inregulation and made 59 of 60 putts inside eight feet. He had no three-putts.That led to four straight 66s and a 24-under 264, the second lowest total ofhis career, after his 25-under in the 2002 American Express Championship. Healso set a personal best of 28 birdies and made only four bogeys. Moreimportant, he hit driver only 20 times but finished 17th in overall drivingdistance, averaging 290.8 yards off the tee, and 35th in driving accuracy, at66.1%, far better than his 54.6% season average in 2005. At 7,561 yards Medinahwill be the longest-ever major venue. So how many drivers will he hit there?"Not many more than here," Hank Haney, Woods's coach, said on Sunday.Woods explained that the shapes of the holes and the speed of the fairways willprevent him from hitting more. That's why Woods will arrive in the Windy Citylooking as dangerous as Al Capone, even if the big gun spends most of the weekin the bag.
At its biannualmeeting the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings board and technical committeechanged how its ranking is calculated. Instead of a 15-event minimum, theranking will now use a divisor of 35, and the tournaments will be weighted bystrength of field, skewed to favor the most recent 13 weeks. What does all thatmean? Annika Sorenstam remains No. 1, Lorena Ochoa climbs to second and KarrieWebb remains third, while Michelle Wie drops from second to seventh and MorganPressel plummets from 16th to 26th.
•Billy Mayfairunderwent surgery for testicular cancer on Aug. 3 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Mayfair,40, hopes to play in the PGA Championship. •Mark Hensby, 34, who missed the cutat last week's Scandinavian Masters, might take the rest of the year off totreat lingering injuries to both feet sustained in a car accident last January.•In five Nationwide tour starts entering last week's Cox Classic, BrandtSnedeker made eagle, birdie, eagle, eagle, eagle on his final hole. At the Cox,Snedeker bogeyed the 36th hole to miss the cut. A birdie or eagle would havesaved his weekend.
• For PGAChampionship previews, go to SI.com/golf.
[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
Survey Says ...
Unlike amateurs,tour pros change clubs to suit local conditions. When going from the U.S. Opento the British Open, that often means trading fairway woods for long irons(one, two and three). Here's the total number of long irons used in eachevent.
The Darrell Survey has tracked equipment usage at golf tournaments since1938.
Grab some Gore-Tex and this nine-holer in a Belizeanrain forest
WHAT Altan Ha Jungle Resort and Maskall GolfCourse
WHERE Maskall, Belize
COST $4.5 million
HOOK Besides the nine-hole jungle course, the1,320-acre resort is near the Mayan ruins of Altan Ha and superb diving andsnorkeling. It has 12.5 miles of hiking trails, four miles of river cuttingthrough the property and a central lodge that's the largest thatched-roofstructure in Belize.
FRINGE BENEFIT If tee-time bookings drop off, the landincludes harvestable timber and a sawmill.
"I like Jim Furyk as Tiger's chiefchallenger." --PEPPER MILL, PAGE G14
JEFF KOWALSKY/REUTERS (WOODS)
IN FOCUS The numbers say Woods is sharp for the PGA.
GINA HOUSEMAN (CLUB)
MARITA AGUAS (MASKALL)
MASKALL GOLF COURSE