SAN FRANCISCO: Tiger Woods is preparing for a journey into the unknown as he heads into this week’s PGA Championship hunting for a 16th major championship against the surreal backdrop of a deserted course at TPC Harding Park.
Throughout his career, the 44-year-old former world No. 1 has become accustomed to roaring galleries following his every shot, providing a jolt of energy that Woods has fed off time and again.
Yet this week’s PGA Championship in San Francisco will be different.
Restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 mean that the first major of 2020 will be a fan-free, muted affair.
Woods got an early taste of his changed environment on Tuesday during a media briefing. Where in the past a scrum of reporters would have attended, on Tuesday only a handful of journalists were present.
“Well, that’s an unknown,” Woods said when asked about how the absence of fans might affect his chances.
“I don’t know if anyone in our generation has ever played without fans in a major championship. It’s going to be very different.
“But it’s still a major championship. It’s still the best players in the world. We all understand that going into it, so there’s going to be plenty of energy from the competitive side.
“But as far as the energy outside the ropes, that is an unknown. And hopefully I can put myself in a position where I can be in that position where I can feel what it feels like to have no fans and also coming down the stretch with a chance to win.”
Woods’ former caddie, New Zealander Steve Williams, is among those who believe that the lack of fans might prove to be a hindrance.
“With that element missing, for someone who hasn’t played a lot of tournament golf this year, it’ll be challenging for Tiger to find that spark he needs,” Williams said this week.
Woods experienced new fan-less reality at the Memorial Tournament last month, at Muirfield Village, in Dublin, Ohio. He finished tied for 40th.
“Those four days at Muirfield were a bit different,” Woods said.
“It reminded me of sometimes on the weekend, you’d tee off Saturday morning and you’d just barely make the cut and you’re first off and there’s no one out there.
“But generally by the time you make the back nine, there’s thousands of people out there on the golf course waiting for the leaders to tee off.”
“But that never happened. So that’s the new world we live in. We just have to get used to it.”
Woods, meanwhile, has one eye on this week’s weather forecast in San Francisco, with the former world No. 1’s lower back notoriously vulnerable to the cooler temperatures expected.
“When it’s cooler like this, it’s just making sure that my core stays warm, layering up properly,” said Woods.
“I know I won’t have the same range of motion as I would back home in Florida where it’s 95 every day. That’s just the way it is.”
Woods, who underwent spinal fusion surgery to rescue his career, said he had spent most of his downtime during the pandemic practising at home.
“I feel good,” he said. “Obviously I haven’t played much competitively, but I’ve been playing a lot at home.
“Just trying to get my way back into this part of the season. This is what I’ve been gearing up for. We’ve got a lot of big events starting from here, so looking forward to it. This is going to be a fun test for all of us.”
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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dead: Hillary Clinton, More Stars React
Honoring Her Honor. Tributes poured in from stars after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday, September 18, at age 87. The Supreme Court confirmed that the judge died at her home in Washington after complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas. “Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice…
Honoring Her Honor. Tributes poured in from stars after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday, September 18, at age 87.
The Supreme Court confirmed that the judge died at her home in Washington after complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas.
“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”
Ginsburg was hospitalized for a potential infection in July. “She underwent an endoscopic procedure at Johns Hopkins this afternoon to clean out a bile duct stent that was placed last August,” spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg told CNN in a statement at the time.
The Brooklyn native previously suffered from acute cholecystitis, a benign gallbladder condition which she received treatment for in May. She was hospitalized in November 2018 after fracturing three ribs in a fall. She underwent surgery to remove two cancerous nodules the following month.
Ginsburg fought cancer four times, most recently in August 2019. She announced in January that she was cancer-free.
The judge became an icon for women’s rights as she served on the Supreme Court, to which she was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She was only the second female justice after Sandra Day O’Connor. Before serving on the country’s highest court, she studied at Cornell, graduated from Columbia Law School and became the first female tenured professor at Columbia.
Ginsburg made her mark on pop culture in recent years. Not only did Kate McKinnon spoof her on Saturday Night Live, but she was also the subject of the 2018 documentary RBG and the 2018 biopic On the Basis of Sex. Felicity Jones portrayed her in the movie and confessed she was “insanely nervous” to meet her.
“I felt like I wanted to curtsy,” the actress, 36, exclusively told Us Weekly in January 2019. “Ruth was incredibly welcoming. We went to her office first and it felt like a very warm environment — covered in photographs of friends and family and all sorts of mementos that had been sent to her by her fans.”
Scroll down to see tributes to Ginsburg.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet tests positive for COVID-19 | CBC News
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet has tested positive for COVID-19. A notice from the party said Blanchet is doing “perfectly well” but will follow Quebec public health instructions and remain in isolation at his residence in Shawinigan until September 26.Blanchet went into isolation alongside his wife, Nancy Déziel, after she tested positive for COVID-19. Many of his caucus members and staffers are also…
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet has tested positive for COVID-19. A notice from the party said Blanchet is doing “perfectly well” but will follow Quebec public health instructions and remain in isolation at his residence in Shawinigan until September 26.Blanchet went into isolation alongside his wife, Nancy Déziel, after she tested positive for COVID-19. Many of his caucus members and staffers are also in self-isolation as a precaution after a staff member contracted COVID-19. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and his family have been tested for COVID-19 after one of his staff members received a positive diagnosis. A member of the Parliamentary Protective Service (PPS) also tested positive on Sept. 10. The developments come as MPs are set to return to Ottawa for the resumption of Parliament. The session is set to begin Wednesday with a speech from the throne. There is ongoing debate over how the House of Commons can ensure public health guidelines are followed. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Health Minister Patty Hajdu have called for virtual voting to allow participation from all MPs who are not present in the Chamber. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said it’s important to communicate clearly to MPs what’s expected of them in the Commons chamber. “I don’t know how the voting works, quite frankly, but obviously reducing the amount of interactions and maintaining physical distance continues to be a recommended public health measure. I think the key is to make sure there are plans and people understand what to do if they are physically in the same spot,” said Tam also said MPs should have the option of working remotely “where appropriate” and should continue to follow physical distancing, mask and hygiene protocols. Ottawa in second wave of COVID-19 infections Today, Ottawa’s medical officer of health said the city is experiencing its second wave of COVID-19 infections. Dr. Vera Etches said the city’s rolling five-day average of the number of people diagnosed daily is now almost 55, surpassing the previous high set in late April. “It’s the speed of the increase that concerns us. We can’t sustain a rapid rise in cases,” she said. Etches said the numbers show residents got a bit too “relaxed” in August but she is confident the city can bring the numbers back down again.