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Tiger Woods is satisfied with his performance this year despite not winning a major

Tiger Woods isn’t hanging his head without a major win this year: “I’m very proud of not only winning the golf tournaments but how consistent I’ve played.

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Tiger Woods isn’t hanging his head without a major win this year: “I’m very proud of not only winning the golf tournaments but how consistent I’ve played.

Compiled from Times wires

For most, winning a major championship is enough to make a career. For Tiger Woods, it's supposed to be an annual occurrence. Woods, 33, has won 14 majors, four shy of Jack Nicklaus' record. He has won the PGA Championship four times, including twice in a row before missing last year because of knee surgery. He has won five times in 12 events on the PGA Tour in 2009 but no major. He even missed the cut at the British Open, only the second time that has happened at a major since he turned pro in 1996.

The last time Woods went a year without winning a major was 2004. Even last year, when he lost most of the season to knee surgery, he won the U.S. Open.

For a player who measures himself by major titles, a season without winning one would seem like a season lost. Not so, Woods says.

"It's been a great year, either way. For me to come back and play, and play as well as I've done and actually win golf events … to be honest with you, I don't think any of us would have thought I could have won this many events this year.

"To look out a year back, I was just coming off crutches, trying to learn how to walk."

Woods has won two of the past nine majors he has played. Weeks after returning to competition this year, he tied for sixth in the Masters.

He also tied for sixth at the U.S. Open.

"It usually takes a while for an athlete to come back," Woods said, "and most guys, or some of the guys who've had (major knee surgery) in our sport, have not gone on to have the year I've had this year.

"I'm very proud of not only winning the golf tournaments but how consistent I've played. The only one bad event I've had was the British Open.''

Bad timing for Tiger

Tiger Woods has won his past two events, and believe it or not, that is bad news for the world's No. 1 golfer heading into the year's final major:

Date Tournament Finish

March 29 Arnold Palmer Invitational 1

Next start Masters T-6

June 7 Memorial 1

Next start U.S. Open T-6

July 5 AT&T National 1

Next start British Open missed cut

Aug. 9 WGC-Bridgestone 1

Next start PGA Championship ??

Unlikely winners

The PGA Championship is billed as "Glory's last shot." It's the year's last chance for a golfer to become a major champion. Usually the tournament is won by elite players such as Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino. But a few winners have come out of nowhere. Some improbable champions:

1. John Daly, 1991 at Crooked Stick, Carmel, Ind.: The ninth alternate drove seven hours from his home in Memphis to make his tee time. He won by three shots. "This is like a miracle,'' Daly said.

2. Rich Beem, 2002 at Hazeltine, Chaska, MinN.: The journeyman survived a late birdie spree by Tiger Woods and won by one. He eagled the par-5 11th hole, the only eagle of the tournament, and never looked back. When Beem tapped in on 18, he did a dance with his arms raised.

3. Shaun Micheel, 2003 at Oak Hill, Rochester, N.Y.: Leading Chad Campbell by a shot on the final hole, Micheel, who had never won on the PGA Tour, hit his second shot out of the rough from 175 yards to within 2 inches of the hole. That shot sealed his victory.

4. Wayne Grady, 1990 at Shoal Creek, Birmingham, Ala.: He lost in a playoff at the 1989 PGA Championship, but he was not exactly a household name. He won only twice on the PGA Tour, and this was his only major championship. Grady shot 6 under for the tournament and beat Fred Couples by three.

Locals in the field

• Woody Austin (Tampa native)

• Paul Azinger (Bradenton resident)

• Michael Bradley (Lithia resident)

• Ryuji Imada (Tampa resident)

Major withdrawal

Trevor Immelman will miss his third straight major because of a wrist injury. The former Masters champion from South Africa will be replaced by Bob Estes.

Five with a chance to win the PGA (besides Tiger)

1. Phil Mickelson: It has been a rough year for Mickelson, but he says his wife, Amy, and his mother are progressing well in their fights with breast cancer. Mickelson could make a run.

2. Jim Furyk: He hasn't won since 2007, but he does have seven top 10s this year and is a former U.S. Open champion. He has the physical and mental game to grind for four days.

3. Padraig Harrington: He had one bad hole Sunday and lost to Woods. He's paired with Woods for the first two days this week, and he'll be highly motivated to repeat as PGA champion.

4. Angel Cabrera: He always seems to be around the leader­board lately. He won the Masters and is coming off a tie for fourth in last week's Bridge­stone Invitational. Never count him out.

5. Sean O'Hair: Sleeper pick. He has made the cut at all three majors and has won once this season (Quail Hollow). He's a very solid player who could contend if his putter is working.

Tiger Woods is satisfied with his performance this year despite not winning a major 08/13/09 [Last modified: Thursday, August 13, 2009 8:13am]

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