Is Merion Set Up for Tiger Woods to Break His Five-Year Drought in Majors?

Is Merion Set Up for Tiger Woods to Break His Five-Year Drought in Majors?

It’s almost hard to believe, but the last time Tiger Woods won a major championship was in 2008. In ’08, Maurice Cheeks was head coach of the 76ers, Brian Dawkins was wearing an Eagles uniform, and the Phillies were winning the World Series. Yeah, it’s been that long.

Woods is on the comeback trail though. He has four PGA Tour wins under his belt this year already to build off of his three from 2012, this after winning none at all for two straight years. Clearly Tiger has recovered, and he is on the prowl.

[ For more on The700Level's 2013 U.S. Open, click here ]

A healthy, scandal-free Tiger Woods is probably the favorite to win any tournament in which he participates, and the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club this week is no different. Those of us who have not experienced the privilege of playing there have heard what a challenging course it is, but it is short, especially by Open standards at 6,996 yards – a length Golf analysts say could work to Woods’ advantage.

In Mark Cannizzaro’s Tiger-centric preview of the Open, the New York Post writer examined why Merion could be the place where Woods finally picks up his 15th major victory, and renews his quest to surpass Jack Nicklaus’ mark of 18.

Merion should set up well for Woods for two reasons: 1, the weakest part of his game is his driver, and using a driver is not necessary on many Merion holes; and 2, no one thinks his way around the course better than Woods.

Woods’ victory at The Players Championship last month seemed to provide a blueprint of how he will play Merion. Woods surgically maneuvered his way around the tight and treacherous Sawgrass Stadium Course using many irons off tees to position himself for easier approach shots, hitting a driver only once in the final round.

Because Woods was striking his irons beautifully and putting well, it worked to perfection.

“Any time you can give Tiger a course that he doesn’t need to use his driver, I think, is to his advantage,” NBC golf analyst Johnny Miller said. “The way he won The Players Championship is very similar to what he’s going to do at Merion. If he doesn’t have to hit the driver, I think he’s going to be tough to beat.”

Of course, Tiger still has to go out and actually win the thing, which is always much easier said than done in this game. While he put up a solid effort at the Masters this year (tied for fourth), Augusta ultimately proved uncooperative, extending his slump to 0-for-15 in majors.

Whether you root for him or against him, Woods is always one of the guys you follow, and Cannizzaro says the pressure will be on this week. We’ll find out whether or not he's all the way back in greatest-golfer-in-the-world form.

>> After five years without major win, Open course sets up nicely for Tiger [NYP]

Watch every single minute of Joel Embiid's super fun NBA debut against OKC

Watch every single minute of Joel Embiid's super fun NBA debut against OKC

Oh, man. Remember that time Joel Embiid did the Dream Shake?!? And then that time he did the crossover. And when he was pumping the crowd up on his way back down the court after drilling a three ball?!?

Well now you don't have to just remember it. You can watch it all again.

Our friendly video team cut together a video featuring every single minute of JoJo's action in his NBA debut. Sadly, he was on a 20-minute restriction, but that didn't stop Brett Brown from getting him out there for a couple of extra minutes.

Enjoy. And as Dario Saric would say, "I love him so much."

If reading is more your thing, check out Jess Camerato on Embiid's debut and Andrew Unterberger on The Process being secured.


Report: Sixers anthem singer Sevyn had contract barring political statements

Report: Sixers anthem singer Sevyn had contract barring political statements

Sevyn Streeter, the performing artist who claimed Wednesday that the Sixers replaced her for the national anthem because of her intent to wear a jersey with the words "We Matter," signed a contract that prohibited political statements, according to CBS3's Jan Carabeo.

Per the report, Streeter was offered an alternate shirt and told she could wear her own shirt in the stands after the performance.

"I was angry, extremely, extremely angry and disappointed and honestly brought to tears by all of it. It broke my heart," Streeter told The Associated Press. "Honestly, I was very excited about being able to perform the national anthem. I was really looking forward to that."

The Sixers didn't directly confirm or deny the allegation but responded with the following statement:

"The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community."

This statement is consistent with efforts being made throughout the NBA calling for action over gestures, as detailed in a feature in B/R Mag. 

“I’m past the gestures,” Carmelo Anthony told B/R Mag. “I’m past that. It’s all about creating things now and putting things in motion. So, that’s what I’m on. I’m trying to get guys on board with that and help them understand that — enough of the gesturing and talking and all of that stuff — we need to start putting things in place.”