After seeing fellow American Brooks Koepka repeat as champion in the U.S. Open earlier this year, it is not out of the question for Thomas to follow suit here at Bellerive, which is hosting the PGA Championship for the first time since 1992.
Woods is contesting the PGA Championship for a first occasion since 2015 when he missed the cut for a second straight year.
Bellerive has its own historic genealogy to add to the cachet of number 100.
Last month's Open Championship at Carnoustie provided the latest glimpse into Spieth's brilliance and flaws. It was a good PGA Championship for a player that had come to expect greatness or at least have greatness expected of him.
In 2008 when Bellerive hosted the BMW Championship Woods was dealing with knee injuries and in 2001 the World Golf Championship was canceled due to the events of 9/11, Woods recalling how a contemplative 17-hour drive home to Florida changed his outlook on the sport and life. The finish at TPC Southwind is particularly interesting, as it is a course similar to the Rees Jones redesigned course at Bellerive. The 2005 upgrade moved fairways and bunkers and expanded putting surfaces. He also famously won the 2010 Open at St Andrews and remains SA's most likely title contender.
The USGA is often criticized for its U.S. Open setups, whether that's because of long, thick rough or penal green speeds that are created to produce a specific winning score. The weekend at Firestone, with as much player history as any course on TOUR, was a clinic for that sort of firepower. That could make an already long course play even longer from tee to green, but the otherwise the course handled the rain quite well.
Then he has a poor weekend, in which he couldn't find fairways at Firestone, looked exhausted, seemingly had a stiff lower back and wasted a good opportunity to earn FedEx points, world-ranking points and Ryder Cup points. Last week Rory was playing a driver and seven iron into the 16 hole that was playing at 648 yards... real yards, albeit all downhill.
The Englishman says it's nothing he worries about, but he has taken notice. "There will be a lot of people, I know that", Thomas said. It also keeps the PGA from colliding with the Olympics every four years, now that golf has returned to its program, and makes for a schedule that flows more naturally from one marquee event to the next. You just take it for what it is and hit it between the trees at 370.
"By March I saw that his game and his health was in a lot better shape so he's been challenging this year and moving up that points list, which has been fun to watch".
Tiger started a philosophy that you better be able to work that ball in both ways. "When I go to a professional tennis tournament, a lot of times I hang out at the practice court, just watching the tennis players hit, to see how they go about preparing".
He's one of the most easygoing players you'll find, the kind of everyman with a quick smile and equally quick wit that's so endearing to fans. They don't play their favorite shot.
"They're going to have a really strong team". It's similar to Congressional, where Rees Jones did the same thing. But Furyk makes four captain's picks next month to complete the lineup and held out hope of double duty for Woods, who has battled back this year from spinal fusion surgery. They had massive greens, and you became a little lazy with that fact. "I guess it focuses you straight away".
The whipping thwack of a golf ball leads to necks whipping toward the sky and then back down, synchronized spectators.