Tony spoke to former Reuters golf correspondent Tony Jimenez to look ahead to the second Major of the season:
“Tiger Woods is my favourite for this week’s US PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. If he can pick up where he left off at the Masters last month, he’s the man to beat.
Some people have suggested that he will be at a disadvantage because he hasn’t played competitively since Augusta but he is the ultimate professional and I believe that whatever he is doing, it is by design. You can rest assured that as far as he’s concerned, he’s doing the right thing.
If he felt the best way to prepare would have been to play, then he would have played. I think he’ll have been preparing the way he wanted to prepare, working full-time on whatever game plan he will adopt at Bethpage.
He’s won there before so that’s probably part of the reason why he’s chosen not to play in the lead-up to the PGA. Tiger’s been to Bethpage to practice, know doubt doing everything he needed to do, and he will know the course as well as anybody.
He’s got so much incentive now, which is a marvellous thing. We all need to feel inspired to play our best golf and he should have special inspiration now that he’s ended a long wait to win his 15th Major championship.
I believe Tiger will be thinking, ‘this is mine for the taking’. Of course, it’s never easy, but I imagine he’ll be feeling super confident going in to the week.
As I said after his Masters victory, I definitely think he’s taking aim at winning all the Majors this year. And why wouldn’t he? He’ll have figured everything out, his golf intellect is second to none and undoubtedly he’s the man to watch at Bethpage.
Looking beyond Tiger, I expect the likes of Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day to be in the frame again.
Like Tiger, Dustin’s not been around much since Augusta, but he’s definitely capable of doing well. It would surprise me if Koepka didn’t perform well. He’s so consistent these days and so strong mentally.
I feel for Adam Scott at the moment. It’s such a shame watching him struggle with the putter. He is such a wonderful ball striker but his confidence in the short stick appears to be waning. He plays so well wherever he goes and it must be heartbreaking for him not to be able to finish things off on the greens like the other guys can.
I can also see one of the young European bucks featuring high up the leaderboard. Someone like Tommy Fleetwood or Matt Wallace or Eddie Pepperell.
Pepperell’s been playing quite a bit in America recently and seems to have embraced the challenge. He performed well at the British Masters last week too.
The cold weather up at Bethpage won’t be an advantage to anyone and, as per normal, the first round will be so important.
You can’t win the tournament on the opening day but you can certainly lose it. If you can get stuck in at the start, avoid a disaster and stay patient, that can really set you up for a good week.”