That’s right, that’s right, that’s right,
that’s right I really love your tiger light
That’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat,
that’s neat, I really love your tiger feet
It is hardly Masefield but definitely Mud, the 1970s English glam rockers. Indeed, the lyrics are from the band’s No 1 hit “Tiger Feet,” which nearly 25 years later spawned a variation of puns when it came to the feats of Tiger Woods.
Last month, ‘Tiger Feat’ was again rolled out by the headline writers after the golfing great grabbed his 15th Major title and fifth Masters in a sumptuous show at Augusta.
One leg of the Grand Slam down, just three to go, starting with the US PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
“This is not only a big course, but this is going to be a long week the way the golf course is set up. This could be a hell of a championship,” Woods said before Thursday’s opening round.
“There’s definitely going to be a component to stamina as the week goes on. Four days over a tough championship that is mentally and physically taxing takes its toll,” he added.
Bethpage on New York’s Long Island can be a brute of a course at this time of the year, with wild squalls and even wilder rough.
Staying on the fairways will be crucial for Tiger and the rest of the stellar names, such as defending champion Brooks Koepka, four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy and England’s Justin Rose.
Stray offline from the tee and Tiger and rest of the gang will be in trouble, according to Nick Faldo, who won six Majors.
The Masters’ hero was able to get away with a few wayward shots at Augusta, Faldo pointed out. But “he won’t get away” with that “at Bethpage,” he added.
“You hit it sideways there you will be in knee-high fescue,” he said on The Cut, a BBC golf podcast.
Faldo has also questioned Tiger’s buildup to the US PGA and how his back will react to the forecast of cold weather.
Last year, he underwent spinal fusion to finally remedy a problem that had left him racked in pain and unable to play golf.
“The weather is key,” Faldo said. “[When] he won at Augusta, it was in the low eighties and, of course, it was hot and humid. He needs that heat on his back, I would have thought.”
Now in his 40s, Tiger has taken a novel approach in preparing for the second Major of the season by putting his feet up after his Masters’ triumph.
For him, less is more in the long run.
“Whether I’m dominant or not going forward, that remains to be seen,” he said. “What I know is I need to give myself the best chance to win the events that I play in, and sometimes that can be taking more breaks here and there and making sure I am ready to go.”
Still, the magic is certainly back in his game after rediscovering his touch around the greens at Augusta. So is his ability to improvise and mesmerize the packed galleries.
Whether he will cope with the ‘Bethpage Beast’ is open to debate more than a month after his amazing final round in the Masters.
“We’ve gone five weeks between the two majors and he hasn’t played competitive golf since Augusta,” Faldo said. “Now he has to come out and pick up where he left off there. We know he is amazing but that is a tall order.
“If he hits it in the rough at Bethpage Black, he will not be able to scramble as he did at Augusta,” he added.
At least, the opening two days have added spice with Tiger being paired with Koepka.
The 29-year-old American is the world’s No 1 and held off the grand master in the US PGA last year. They will be joined by reigning British Open champion Francesco Molinari in a group oozing with talent and attitude.
“I’m just looking forward to playing with him [Woods],” Koepka said. “I don’t think we’ve really been paired together too much, especially over the last couple years. It’ll definitely be interesting.”
Already you can hear the beat of ‘Tiger Feet.’