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Tiger Woods Returns to Bethpage

Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy paired together as golf world turns its attention this week to The Barclays Tournament at Bethpage State Park.

As Rory McIlroy addressed the media Wednesday, the tone changed in a heartbeat. A murmur reverberated through the audience. Tiger Woods had just walked in off the 18th hole at Bethpage Black. 

Woods stood at the back of the room, listening intently as a reporter asked the 23-year-old McIlroy – the youngest player to win the U.S. Open since Bobby Jones in 1923 – who is the best player in the world.

“Sure, I feel like I’m the best and Tiger feels like he’s the best,” said McIlroy, eyeing Woods in the back of the room. “It’s really a hard one for me to come up here and say. Tiger has been the best player in the world for the last 15 years. Just that people are mentioning my name with the likes of him is a huge compliment.”

McIlory is the top-ranked golfer in the world. Woods, 36, has won 14 majors and 74 PGA events, including three this year. They will get a chance to measure one another up close this week, paired together in the first two rounds of The Barclays Tournament

The First Round begins Thursday at 7:10 a.m. at Bethpage State Park. The PGA Tour stop is the first leg of the FedEx Cup, a four-tournament playoff with a $10 million payoff going to the points champion.

Woods has won at Bethpage Black before, taking the 2002 U.S. Open. As he worked his way through the course for Wednesday’s Pro-AM, it became clear Woods still generates more excitement than anyone in the field.

“I was always the youngest when I played against Vijay [Singh], Phil [Mickelson], Ernie [Els] and Goose [Retief Goosen],” Woods said. “We went at it for just over a decade. I was always the youngest one out of that group. Rory is considerably younger than I am, but this is another generation.”  

Will Woods’ experience at Bethpage translate into a strong performance? It’s a stacked field and a new generation is fighting for recognition. It begins with McIlory. 

The Barclays Tournament

Top 10: Players to Watch

Bethpage Black: Three Holes to Watch

First Round: Golfer pairings Thursday

Schedule: TV / Radio

Getting In: Tickets

Getting There: Parking l Road Closures l LIRR

Follow The Barclays from our Bethpage Black topics page

TS August 26, 2012 at 03:09 AM
I'll say it again...Phil is a fan favorite!! My husband took my 7 year old son to the Barclays today. While leaving one hole to go to the next, Phil made eye contact with my son, said "Hey bud" and threw a ball to my son. He was on cloud 9!! Phil just earned a new fan forever in a seven year old boy. Meanwhile, later in the day my son tried to tell Tiger he had a nice hit as he walked by. Tiger completely ignored him. Now I'm not naive to think that yes he has a lot on his mind being in a big tournament, but other golfers made an effort with the fans. Tiger has a lot to work on to get back to the top of his game, not only on the course but also with the fans. He may be one of golfs greatest players, but he made a very big impression with my 7 year old today, and let's just say it wasn't a good one!
Vincent August 26, 2012 at 10:40 AM
TS: Yes, Phil is the fan favorite and especially on Long Island. Yet we constantly get Woods pushed down our throats. I think today is the day Wood's back is going to be bothering him again if he starts missing those chippie puts.
Vincent August 26, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Watching Tiger Woods is just like watching Roger Clemens. Two over the hill has beens.
Ralebird August 27, 2012 at 05:26 AM
Clemens had a better weekend than Woods did and people in Texas tell me fans were paying up to $1500 for a ticket to the Skeeters game.
Vincent August 27, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Yes Clemens did have a better weekend proving that he still can strikeout little boys and also get not so smart people to part with their money. On the other hand no one is afraid of Woods anymore.

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