Tiger Woods is back and ready to contend for a national championship.
It’s been three years since he last played the U.S. Open and 10 years since he won it, but here he is again, fielding questions in a jam-packed media room at Shinnecock Hills as if no time has passed at all.
Woods’ putting is the concern of hour after a dismal showing on Muirfield Village’s greens at the Memorial. He still finished T-23, but he hit the ball well enough to win.
“I just didn’t feel comfortable over it,” Woods said. “I couldn’t see my lines. Those greens were quick and I just didn’t feel comfortable and didn’t hit many good putts. Lot of bad ones. This is a different week, different setup, different grass. This is basically what I grew up on. (Poa annua grass), it’s bumpy and requires a lot of patience.”
Woods said he hit a lot of putts over the past week that his stroke feels good at the moment. He also said he grew up playing on greens similar to Shinnecock’s and feels comfortable on them.
He’s played three nine-hole practice rounds this week, pairing up with Jordan Spieth Sunday, Steve Stricker Monday and Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson Tuesday.
Woods also noted the increased width of the fairways since the 2004 U.S. Open, something which should give he and other long hitters with fleeting accuracy an advantage. His driver ranks just a shade below the putter as an area of concern, but Woods has shown greater control of late with the big stick.
Accuracy was a bigger issue earlier this year, when putting wasn’t an issue at all. Despite all the promise Woods has shown at times, he still hasn’t had a complete performance this season. He’ll need one this week to have any chance at ending the major drought.
“Golf is always frustrating,” Woods said. “There’s always something that isn’t quite right and that’s where we as players have to make adjustments. You’ve seen the tournaments I’ve played in this year. It’s always something. Hopefully this is one of those weeks where I put it all together.”