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Page last updated at 10:23 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 11:23 UK

Woods repeats slow-play criticism

The PGA Championship
Venue: Hazeltine National Golf Club, Minnesota Date: 13-16 August
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live; scorecard updates and reports on the BBC Sport website


Padraig Harrington (left) and Tiger Woods
Woods (right) took advantage of Harrington's error

Tigers Woods has repeated his criticism of European Tour chief referee John Paramor following the slow-play row at last week's World Golf Championship.

In the closing stages Paramor enforced slow-play rules on Woods and Padraig Harrington, after which Harrington's game fell apart, gifting Woods the win.

Speaking before the USPGA, Woods said: "It influenced the outcome. That's not how you want the tournament to end."

Woods also denied he had been fined by the Tour for his criticisms.

He and Harrington were the only players in contention for victory when Paramor put them on the clock at the 16th tee of the final round at the Firestone Country Club in Ohio.

IAIN CARTER BLOG

Harrington promptly hurried three shots, pitched his fourth in the water and ended up with a triple-bogey eight which turned his one-stroke lead into a three-stroke deficit.

Speaking about the on-the-clock incident, the Irishman said it had upset him at the time but he was not dwelling on what happened.

"I didn't sleep great Sunday night. I was tired but I struggled to get to sleep and I woke up early still thinking about it," said Harrington.

"But the minute I hit the practice round here I'm thinking about the USPGA. It's all about the USPGA."

Woods, whose victory was the 70th of his career, said: "The thing I didn't understand is that we were the only two in contention to win the event. We were having a great battle.

"Unfortunately he sped up and made a couple of mistakes. You hope it doesn't happen that way but unfortunately it did happen."

BBC golf correspondent Iain Carter said the comments were out of character for the American but showed how upset he was by the incident.

"It's unusual for Woods to embroil himself in controversy, especially just before a major, but the world number one is clearly angry that he and Harrington were put on the clock for slow play on the 16th hole of the final round in Ohio last week," he said.

"Harrington ran up a triple-bogey eight after he rushed following John Paramor's ruling. Woods contends the decision ruined a compelling battle."

Woods, who has won the last two events on the USPGA tour, will be looking to win the USPGA Championship for a fifth time when the tournament starts at Hazeltine on Thursday.

But the 33-year-old believes to do it he will have to beat the strongest field possible, with almost all of the world's top 100 taking part.

"This is the deepest field we get," said the world number one.

"If you win this championship you have beaten the best field in all of golf."

I was tired but I struggled to get to sleep and I woke up early still thinking about it

Padraig Harrington

Woods has won five tournaments since returning from an eight-month absence in February following reconstructive knee surgery.

But he has not won a major in 2009 and missed the cut at the Open.

"It's been a great year either way, for me to come back and play as well as I've done," added Woods, who has not gone through a year without a major victory since 2004.

"I don't think any of us would have thought I could have won this many events this year.

"I'm very proud of not only winning the golf tournaments but how consistent I've played. The one bad event I've had was missing the cut at the Open."

Woods is in pursuit of Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major titles, while his victory last Sunday at the World Golf Championship took his tally to 70 PGA titles - 12 behind Sam Snead's record.

"Those are numbers that are pretty mind-boggling," he stated.

"To get up that high, those records don't happen in the course of a few years. It's an entire career."

Woods has been paired with defending champion Harrington and Rich Beem, who won the tournament the last time it was at Hazeltine in 2002, for the first two rounds of the tournament.



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see also
Harrington upbeat on USPGA hopes
12 Aug 09 |  Golf
Casey forced to pull out of USPGA
13 Aug 09 |  Golf
USPGA just wants to be loved
11 Aug 09 |  Golf
Woods wins as Harrington crumbles
10 Aug 09 |  Golf
USPGA Championship tee-off times
15 Aug 09 |  Golf
Woods secures victory on comeback
25 Feb 09 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf


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