"I think Tiger is a factor no matter what — even coming in not with that kind of form," Masters champion Adam Scott said. "He's been up there in majors recently and just has not finished it off. But, obviously, he put it all together last week at a venue he's extremely comfortable with, so I don't know that Tiger's confidence is ever really down. It's hard to imagine when you've won 80 times or something. He's obviously going to be feeling good about where his game is at.
"But this week is a new challenge, as it is for everyone," Scott said. "And we all start from the same point on Thursday."
It's not getting any easier at the majors. For the first time in 25 years, the major champions were three players who were among the top 10 in the world — Scott at the Masters, Justin Rose at the U.S. Open and Phil Mickelson at the British Open.
"I think that having Tiger win last week is great because I can't remember the last time somebody won the week before a major and then went on and won," Mickelson said, waiting for the room to catch up to his wisecrack. That would be Mickelson, who won the Scottish Open the week before his British Open win.
Woods had been the last player to do that — an eight-shot win at the Bridgestone Invitational in 2007, followed by the PGA Championship at Southern Hills.
This will be the 20th time that Woods goes into a major having won in his previous tournament. And while he has won four of those majors — the U.S. Open in 2000, Masters in 2001 and PGA Championship in 2006 and 2007 — only Mickelson (five) and Ernie Els (four) from his generation have won that many majors in a career.
Of greater concern is that Woods is 0-for-7 dating to that PGA title at Southern Hills.
"Having him back, having him play well, having him win like he's won this year is great for the game of golf," Mickelson said. "And the work that he's been doing with Sean Foley has been noticeable and been paying off and he's not having the shots that he's had for a few years. He's playing solid and he played great last week.
"I think it's also great for the game to see guys the like Adam Scott and Justin Rose to come out and win major championships early on — guys that have incredible games and now have won golf's biggest events," he added. "That just makes it exciting because we have a number of players that can really create a lot of interest in this final major championship."