Tiger speaks on US Open eve

Tiger Woods is full of confidence heading into this week's US Open Championship at Merion chasing his 15th major championship title and his 4th US Open title.

Five years ago Woods won his third and last US Open and his 14th and last major championship when he won on what was essentially one leg at Torrey Pines and given his current form he starts the event as favourite once again.

History has show however, especially in a US Open, that being amongst the favourites offers no guarantee of success although in twenty US Open starts as a professional Woods has been only twice outside the top twenty three of those victories and five more top tens.

On that basis and despite his surprising effort at Memorial two weeks ago where he finished 65th he beings this week's event as the commanding favourite.

That Woods already loves the layout is another factor working in his favour. "It's a great golf course," he said on Tuesday. "It's just a little bit tricky with some of the blind tee shots and trying to get a feel for what my finish lines are going to be.

"The greens are pretty self-explanatory. They've got a few waves in them, a few little movements. Not too complicated."

Woods played Merion three weeks ago in the lead up to the Memorial tournament and given the recent weather feels things have not changed much.

"When I came up on Tuesday of Memorial it was rainy, the ball wasn't flying very far and I'm hitting the ball in the same spots now, because obviously it's rainy and soft.

"I thought it might be totally different. As I explained at Memorial, that the ball would be running out and we would hit different clubs and different shapes. But it's going to be the same as what we played on Tuesday."

Woods was asked what sort of score might be required to win given the soft conditions that are likely to prevail.

"I don't think we have an exact feel for it yet, what we're going to have to do and what we're going to have to shoot. The conditions keep changing.

"We haven't dealt with teeing it up in a tournament yet with it raining and drying out for a couple of days and the mud balls appearing. That's going to be interesting. Especially the longer holes.

"The shorter holes, if you catch a ball that's got a little bit of mud on it, you can't be as precise. I don't know how they're going to get the fairways down or if they're going to cut the rough at all or if they're going to have the greens up to speed. They certainly weren't up to speed yesterday.

"Today the putting green was still a little bit slow. I don't think that it's going to be that much faster, especially with the forecast with rain on Thursday. It will be interesting to see what the players end up doing the first few days and getting a feel for what the number is going to be.

So what about his current form?

"As far as Memorial, no, I didn't play well. I didn't putt well. I didn't really do much that I was real pleased about. But it was just one of those weeks. It happens. And move on from there.

I had a good week of practice last week at home. We had a tropical storm roll through there, I guess it was getting us ready for this one."

Woods plays his opening two rounds with Rory McIlory and Adam Scott and was asked his thoughts on the idea of the game's leading three ranked players together on Thursday and Friday.

"I think it will be fantastic. I was part of that the first time they did it in "˜08. And it was very electric out there. I know they've done it a few more times. It's not very often we get 1, 2 and 3 in one group and 4, 5, 6 in another.

"And for me it's fantastic. Normally we don't get those types of pairings very often. When you do it just makes it that much more enjoyable for us as players."

Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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