Tiger Woods shares a moment with Pat Perez on the practice green at the Bethpage Black course. Picture: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Tiger Woods shares a moment with Pat Perez on the practice green at the Bethpage Black course. Picture: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

'No, no, no': Faldo insists Tiger can't win PGA Championship

GOLF great Nick Faldo has poured ice-cold water on Tiger Woods' hopes of winning the US PGA Championship.

Instead, six-time major winner Faldo believes big bombers Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson are among the stars likely to tame New York's notoriously difficult Bethpage Black course.

Woods reignited hopes he could chase down Jack Nicklaus' record 18 major titles when he came from behind to win the Masters in April, his 15th major and first in 11 years.

Woods also has a stellar record at Bethpage, including winning the 2002 US Open in wire-to-wire fashion, as well finishing sixth in 2009.

But six-time winner Faldo, a respected TV golf analyst, says it's a different story now for the 43-year-old Woods.

"No, no, no," Faldo told reporters when asked if four-time PGA Championship winner Woods could triumph this week at a rain-soaked, 6766m Bethpage course.

"Tiger has still got the intimidation factor ... (but) he is not going to win.

"Bethpage will beat Tiger this week. It's a brute.

"The beast will beat the Tiger."

Perhaps supporting Faldo's claim is Woods' decision not to show for practice on Wednesday. He is rumoured to be carrying a sickness.

Woods and two-time PGA champion Rory McIlroy are among the betting favourites to win the year's second major.

The PGA is being held in May for the first time after shedding its mid-summer August date.

McIlroy's length is an advantage at a long course that will play longer with cold air decreasing the carry of shots, and wet conditions hindering the roll of the ball.

Despite McIlroy's sensational form in 2019, including his victory at the elite Players Championship, Faldo has little faith the Northern Irishman can claim a fifth major title this week.

His fourth and most recent major victory was the 2014 PGA Championship.

"I have got question marks against Rory, Tiger, and Jordan (Spieth)," Faldo said.

"We are just not sure with Rory if he can turn it on and stay at the top level. If it is going to be a par-fest - has he got the patience for that?

"He has got issues with distance control with the wedges and his putting stroke, at times, lets him down."

Instead, Faldo believes three-time major winner Koepka is a strong chance to successfully defend his 2018 PGA Championship title.

But he says Justin Rose, Francesco Molinari and world No.1 Johnson are also good chances to win.

Australia will field an eight-player contingent at Bethpage.

Jason Day, the 2015 PGA Championship winner, is the standout given his great record at the event.

The former world No.1 also has a runner-up result among five top 10s from nine appearances.

Countryman Adam Scott is also one to watch given his third placing last year behind Koepka, having played in the final group with the American and briefly held the back-nine lead.

Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith round out the US tour-based Australian players.

Leishman said the back injury that forced his withdrawal from last week's PGA Tour event in Dallas was "fine" after rehabilitation.

Also in the 156-player field is rising European Tour star Lucas Herbert, as well as 15-time Japan Tour winner Brendan Jones.

Australian club pros Craig Hocknull and Stuart Deane qualified via the PGA Professionals Championship.