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Woods primed to end five-year major drought at PGA Championship

updated 8:11 AM EDT, Thu August 8, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tiger Woods in good shape to end a five year long major championship drought
  • World No. 1 last won one of golf's four major titles at the U.S. Open in 2008
  • Woods has won five PGA Tour titles in 2013 most recently at Bridgestone Invitational
  • Fourteen-time major champion is happy with form going into US PGA Championship

(CNN) -- It is a regular refrain in the build-up to one of golf's four major championships these days: 'Will this be Tiger's time?'

The world number one has been marooned on 14 majors for over half a decade now, his quest to match Jack Nicklaus' haul of 18 stuck firmly in neutral.

Despite five tournament victories this year on the PGA Tour, he's flattered to deceive when it comes to golf's four bumper tournaments.

In contention at both the Masters and the British Open he faded at the business end, finishing tied sixth and fourth respectively, while injury affected his U.S. Open bid.

Read: Woods romps to seven-shot victory at Firestone

But he arrives for the U.S. PGA Championship at Oak Hill in New York on the back of an emphatic win at the Bridgestone Invitational, finishing seven shots clear of the field.

Mickelson revels in British Open win
New golf course at St. Andrews
Bubba Watson on Tiger Woods

No wonder then that he's content with his form going into the final major of 2013.

Asked at a press conference on Tuesday whether the 15th major is proving the most difficult of his career to snare he replied: "It kind of seems that way. It has been the longest spell that I've had since I hadn't won a major.

"I've certainly had my share of chances to win. I've had my opportunities on the back nine of probably half of those Sundays for the last five years and just haven't won it.

"But the key is to keep giving myself chances and eventually I will start getting them. I'm very pleased with where my game is at."

Given the phenomenal success he's enjoyed so far in 17 years as a professional, it is unsurprising his career has come to be determined by how he performs in the majors.

Coincidentally, it is now also 17 majors he's gone without winning one. But even if he doesn't collect his fifth US PGA title this weekend, he'll still think of his 2013 campaign as a positive one.

"It has been a great year for me so far, winning five times," Woods said. "I think winning one major championship automatically means you had a great year."

Woods has been hard at work honing his short game ahead of Thursday's opening round at Oak Hill, tricky greens forming a big part of the test in Rochester.

Again he turned to his United States Ryder Cup teammate Steve Stricker -- as well as caddy Joe La Cava -- for some tips on how to negotiate the undulating greens.

"There are quite a few subtleties," Woods said. "These little ridges and waves in the greens, a little bit of grain here and there. They are tough. They are tricky to read. I'm sure I'll be calling Joey in on a few putts as well.

The key is to keep giving myself chances. I'm very pleased with where my game is at
Tiger Woods

"A lot of the long putts had double breaks in them. It's going to be important to hit a lot of greens and give yourself opportunities because these are a little bit tricky to read, there's no doubt."

Woods is still the biggest draw at any tournament he attends but he revealed his popularity nearly caused an injury for a young fan in Rochester.

"We had a little girl get crushed," Woods said. "She was just on the ground crying. People get so aggressive for autographs. You try and sign but sometimes the adults start running over the little kids up front."

Read: Mickelson savors 'greatest day'

Meanwhile, the man who won the last major title on offer at the British Open in July -- Phil Mickelson -- is gunning for the sixth of his career.

His inspired run of four birdies in the final six holes at Muirfield delivered Lefty's first British Open title at the 20th attempt. Now he has his sights of the final major of the season.

"I've studied the golf course," Mickelson said. "I know exactly how I'm going to play it. I just need to get my game sharp now."

"You've got to hit fairways. The rough is extremely long and thick, as long and thick a rough as I've seen in a long time."

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