Tiger bids for Bay Hill hat-trick

New greens and in-form Els could stop Woods triple

Bob Warters's picture
Wed, 13 Mar 2002

Redesigned greens at Bay Hill, in Florida, the venue for this week’s latest stop on the US Tour, could prevent Tiger Woods claiming his third successive victory at the course where Arnold Palmer makes his home.

Woods, also a neighbour of the course, needed to birdie at the 72nd hole last year to hold off World No. 2 Phil Mickelson by a shot and and set off one of his famous fist-pump celebrations.

Now Woods says the putting surfaces are "a lot more difficult."

"There's no doubt about it," he says. "They are kind of the same shape, but they are breaking differently now. So now you've got to take a good look at some of these putts."

Most likely to end Woods' run this year is Ernie Els who held off the American two weeks ago in the Genuity Classic, then claimed the Dubai title in The Emirates desert.

"Tiger is going for his third straight win, but I can't be too concerned about that," said Els, No.3 in the world. "I'm just trying to play my game and hopefully be there on Sunday."

Also challenging, a week before the Players Championship and less than a month from the US Masters, will be Mickelson, David Duval, Sergio Garcia, Davis Love and Retief Goosen.

It promises to be spectacular action combined with a few heartaches on the greens.



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