Tiger Woods is hopeful that he can put his nightmare four rounds at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational behind him as he bids to claim a fifth USPGA Championship victory.
The 34-year-old only had Henrik Stenson behind him at Firestone Country Club as he finished 18-over-par for the tournament, his worst ever score in a 72-hole event.
Meanwhile, the seven-over-par 77 he posted over his closing 18 holes was also his highest career final-round total.
Woods explained that the only crumbs of comfort he can carry with him as he heads to Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, where he is 8/1 to secure victory, is that he remained patient in the PGA Tour event and that he just hung on to his position as world number one.
Phil Mickelson looked set to take over this mantle for the first time but stumbled to a 78 in his final round, which left him in a share of 46th spot behind Hunter Mahan.
More worrying for Woods is that the WGC Bridgestone Invitational is a tournament which he has dominated in the past, claiming seven victories in ten attempts and finishing no worse than fourth in the other three.
Mickelson played well for three rounds in Ohio and is also an 8/1 chance for the USPGA, which begins on August 12th, while Mahan is available at 33/1 to make it back-to-back wins and land a first major victory.
Woods also explained that he would be no help to the US team at the Ryder Cup in October if his game does not significantly improve in the next month.
Corey Pavin’s team are 15/8 to retain the title they won at Valhalla in 2008, with Woods currently needing to be named as one of three wildcards to feature at Celtic Manor.
Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington are others in form, with an Irish player 7/1 to make it two Irish major victories in 2010 at the USPGA Championship after Graeme McDowell triumphed at the US Open.