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Now, there are no excuses. He is the favorite at Kiawah. He has been the favorite at every major this year.

“This year, I’ve won three tournaments, and it’s been a pretty good year,” Woods said. “I’ve been in there with a chance to win a few more. Physically, my game is way different than what it was last year. It’s been nice to be able to practice after each round, to have that option. That wasn’t the case last year. My game has improved because of it. And here we are.”

Where does he go?

Nowhere without a rain suit based on the last early part of the week.

Luke Donald, in his seventh straight major as the world No. 1, was among the first to tee off in a practice round Tuesday. He faced a 25 mph wind off the Atlantic as clouds gathered, and it started pouring 45 minutes later. There was only a breeze, from the other direction, when he got back on the golf course.

“Obviously, the conditions are changing from hour to hour, and that’s making it difficult,” Donald said.

There is plenty of sand at Kiawah Island, but no bunkers. The PGA of America has declared everything “through the green,” meaning all sand will be called “sandy areas” instead of bunkers. Players can ground their clubs and take practice swings. Rakes will be left there to smooth their sand only as a courtesy.

By early afternoon, some of the “sandy areas” looked more like small ponds.

That figures to make Kiawah play every bit of its 7,676 yards — by 2 yards the longest in major championship history — if officials decide to play it all the way back. That would seem to favor the big hitters, and Woods is still in that class. Even so, he sounded disappointed.

“I like the test that a firm golf course brings,” Woods said. “It just brings more shot making into the equation. … You’ve got to land the ball in the correct spots.”

That speaks to how Woods feels about his game. It’s good enough to win anywhere. He showed that with a five-shot victory at Bay Hill, with a come-from-behind win at the Memorial, and with his late rally to win at Congressional in the AT&T National.

The majors? That’s been a different story. And there’s only one left this year for him to change that.