AKRON, Ohio -- For as long as he has been playing golf, going back to when he was on TV at 2 years old, Tiger Woods has made an unforgettable impression on the people who watched him. At one particular place, it is the other way around. So he is looking forward to heading back to Bethpage.
"Yeah, we played a couple of Opens there and it has been just an incredible atmosphere," Woods said Thursday at Firestone Country Club, where he has won seven times and where he will try to make it eight starting Thursday in the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational.
He and the rest of golf's elite players are getting ready for a galvanizing stretch of seven events in nine weeks, including the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup. But none of them are downplaying the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs, which begin three weeks from Thursday at Bethpage Black. That venue, which golfers remember from the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens, figures to offer a blast of energy in a daunting schedule.
New York fans were not shy when they watched Woods win the 2002 Open and contend in 2009. "It's a great sporting town, to begin with, and they come out in droves," Woods said. "Hopefully, we'll get some good weather, unlike the last time we played there.
"It's a great test, especially if it's dry and fast. When we played there in '02, obviously it rained on Thursday. But by the time Sunday came along, that thing was quick. That golf course, if it's quick, it's just so difficult," he said. "When it rains, any golf course becomes not that difficult."
Kiawah Island, site of the season's final major next week, was wet and soft when he played there this week. He expects it to be tougher when the PGA starts. No matter where they are held, majors are proving impossible to dominate and hard to win -- witnessed by Adam Scott failing to win the British Open two weeks ago despite having played well all week and taking a four-stroke lead into the final four holes.
Scott, in his first public comments since then, said Wednesday that he took a vacation in the Swiss Alps after the tournament. "I certainly didn't beat myself up and have to curl up in a corner," he said, adding that his play for the first 68 holes made him more convinced he can win a major.
He appreciated the graciousness of the champion, Ernie Els, his close friend. "I felt a little bad to be honest," Scott said, "because it should have been a time of elation for him, and he had to kind of feel like he had to console me a little bit."
Woods said, "To win one major is difficult. It's tough to do. Fortunately enough, I have 14, and hopefully I can get some more."