Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Tiger Woods feeling at home with ‘hot, humid’ conditions at US Open

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After a pair of disappointing finishes in the year’s first two major tournaments, Tiger Woods has a much more optimistic outlook heading into the U.S. Open.

There won’t be the hilly terrain of the Masters or the wet weather of the PGA. Instead, North Carolina’s Pinehurst Resort expects to see playing conditions that are more well-suited to his game.

“It’s gonna feel like home,” Woods told reporters Tuesday morning. “Hot and humid we deal with every day in Florida. It’s just a matter of keeping hydrated and the mental tax the heat will bring − not just on me; everyone will be tested.”

The Open returns to Pinehurst for the fourth time in the past 20 years, but the first time since a redesign that has changed some of the aspects of the course, but still maintained its classic character.

The biggest change is on Pinehurst’s signature inverted saucer-shaped greens, which have been converted from the bent grass used during the last U.S. Open in 2014 to Bermuda grass.

“Shot selections around the greens are more plentiful this year,” Woods said, adding that he tried using a putter, wedge, several different irons and even a fairway wood during practice rounds to see which might work best in those situations.

“That’s the beauty of playing Donald Ross golf courses.”

Woods predicted the course will only get tougher as the tournament progresses, with the greens becoming even slicker.

The opening round − in which Woods will be paired with Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick − “could be as low as we could go” the entire week.

Like most U.S. Opens, Woods expects it to be a “war of attrition,” but he added, “It’ll be fun for all of us.”

Tiger Woods accompanied by son Charlie

Speaking of fun, Woods has spent much of his time scoping out the course at Pinehurst with his 15-year-old son Charlie.

Charlie Woods has won a pair of junior golf tournaments and helped his high school team in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, win a state championship last year as freshman.

“It’s great for us to share these moments together,” the elder Woods said. “I trust him with my swing and my game. He’s seen me hit more golf balls than anyone. I tell him what to look for, especially with putting.”

Woods is seeking his 16th major championship this weekend, one he notes would be even more special with his son there watching, cheering and helping him.

“We have a great rapport like that,” Woods said. “It’s a wonderful experience for both of us.”

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