Tiger's the one to beat in the heat

JODY VANCE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 6:52 AM ET

Who plans a golf tournament in Tulsa, Okla., in August? Obviously someone who has never watched The Weather Network or read a "Farmers Almanac."

This week, when the PGA Championship rolls into Southern Hills Country Club, the mercury will hover right around a nice 38 C. Ugh! Seriously, does that sound like fun golfing weather to you?

Tiger Woods will have his Nike Dri-Fit working overtime in this one as he tries to take the year's final major.

His preparation seems to be right on track after his impressive win by eight strokes at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Sunday -- he would consider such a win a good warm-up as he locks onto job No. 1 ahead of him, to take this major.

With four PGA Tour titles so far this year, it is no surprise that he sits atop the money list, never mind the FedEx Cup points race, but you know it's the game's biggest tournaments he truly desires. So far this season, Tiger has come up empty. Woods has yet to wrap his hands around that elusive 13th major title and he will be eyeing just that in the Oklahoma heat this week.

We have all learned, and most are very impressed by, how much of a creature of habit Tiger Woods is. You know his drill when it comes to prepping for a major tournament: Arrive very early and practice until you know the course backwards and forwards; read every green as if it were your home track. Tiger has done this in Tulsa long before most other golfers are even packed for their trips into town.

The media circus that follows Tiger is making a lot out of his last major at Southern Hills -- the 1996 PGA Tour Championship -- when he finished in a share of 21st out of 30 players. But what is lost in those numbers is how he was completely distracted by his beloved father Earl's hospitalization. Anything but your typical week, lesser players would have pulled out.

No matter what unfolds this time, when it comes down to the short strokes, Oklahoma will be the place to be for sizzling temperatures and red-hot Tiger Mania as this perennial victor takes another stab at walking in the footsteps of the Golden Bear.

Wanting the Wanamaker Trophy and actually hoisting it in the blistering sunshine forecast for Sunday is something each and every golfer on the course will be focused on. However, only one won't have to contend with the heat that is the Tiger Factor.

Jody Vance is a sportscaster with Leafs TV. Her colums appear Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.


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