Great Britain

Tiger Woods won three of his 15 Majors by ‘just keeping heartbeat going’ and will aim to do same for No 16 at US PGA

TIGER WOODS was so confident before three of his 15 Major triumphs he felt all he had to do to win was turn up and “keep my heartbeat going”.

The belief he was practically bulletproof first kicked in before he announced himself on the world stage by romping to a 12-shot victory at the 1997 Masters.

And he felt the same way before he spread-eagled the field at the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach — winning by 15 shots — and followed it up a month later with an eight-shot victory in The Open at St Andrews.

Woods recalled: “There’s probably only been three times where I knew that all I had to do was keep my heartbeat going and I was going to win the tournament.

“In 1997 I felt pretty good at Augusta, and then Pebble Beach in 2000, and then obviously at St Andrews the same year.

“My game was clicking for maybe the week prior. The week of the tournament it got better.

“Those were rare exceptions. It hasn’t happened to me that often.

“But those three weeks, I just felt really good and had control of every single shot shape, distance, feel around the greens, putter. I had everything rolling.”

Woods, 44, is nowhere near as cocky heading into tomorrow’s USPGA Championship but insists Major No 16 is a real possibility.

Asked if he could win this week, he responded with a look that suggested he was almost offended by the question and said: “Of course.”

But it was fair to ask. Woods has played just three times this year, finishing ninth, 68th, and 40th — and his fused back has been causing him problems.

Only one of those starts came since the PGA Tour’s three-month shutdown ended in June, and rounds of 71-76-71-76 at The Memorial — an event he has won five times — hardly inspired confidence.

The cold, windy, weather forecast for TPC Harding Park in San Francisco this week is not ideal for a man with a dodgy back either, and Woods turned up for his press conference ­yesterday wearing a roll-neck top, a scarf and a zip-up jacket.

At least he says he will not suffer the same problem as Rory McIlroy, who has found it hard to focus without fans.

They will play the first two rounds together, along with new world No 1 Justin Thomas.

Woods added: “You know it’s going to be a lot cooler, so you have to layer up and accept the ball is not going to travel as far.

“And, for the focus part of it, I haven’t had a problem with that because I’ve only played once without spectators.”

Woods, McIlroy and Thomas tee off at 4.33pm UK time on Thursday, while Brooks Koepka starts his bid for a hat-trick of USPGA titles 22 minutes earlier, alongside 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry and 2019 US Open winner Gary Woodland.

Tiger Woods is to get his own documentary series like Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance which could come out at same time as the Masters

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