DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) - Tiger Woods has described the venue for this month’s U.S. Open as “very challenging” after seeing for himself why a top U.S. Golf Association (USGA) official said extensive homework was required at Chambers Bay.
Woods, who won the last of his 14 major titles in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, scouted the Washington State site on Monday and Tuesday before heading to Muirfield Village Golf Club for this week’s Memorial Tournament.
“When Mike (Davis) says something like that, you got to pay attention to it, because he’s an extremely bright man and we got out there and it was like, ‘Oh, my God, there’s so many different options here’,” Woods told reporters on Wednesday.
“It’s very challenging in the sense that Mike has so many options that he can present us as challenges off the tees or into the greens. There are so many different numbers that you have to know off the tees and how that’s going to play.”
Woods’ comments should serve as another warning to players who have yet to visit the venue for the June 18-21 Open after USGA executive director Mike Davis said that anyone who gets in only a couple of practice rounds will have no chance of winning.
“The idea of coming in and playing two practice rounds and having your caddie just walk it and using your yardage book, that person is done,” Davis said in April. “(He) will not win the U.S. Open.”
Woods spent three-and-a-half hours on each nine at Chambers Bay on Monday before playing a quicker 18 on Tuesday at the course, a new links-style layout adjacent to Puget Sound.
When pressed as to whether he liked the venue, the 39-year-old American was non-committal, replying: ”Depends how it’s set up because it can be played so many different ways.
“He (Davis) could make it to where it’s just brutal or he can make it to where it’s pretty easy and give us a combination of both, and then switch it up on every other hole. That’s going to be the interesting part is just trying to figure that out.”
Woods, a five-time winner at the Memorial Tournament, is hoping to regain some form this week in his last PGA Tour event before he heads back to Chambers Bay.
The former world number one, whose ranking has plummeted to 172nd, has made just four starts on the circuit this season after mainly struggling with his game.
His best finish was an encouraging tie for 17th at the Masters in April before he shared 69th place at the Players Championship last month.
“I feel very good about the changes we’ve made and we’ve just implemented a couple new things but it’s still evolving,” Woods said.
“It’s about peaking at the right time ... I want to be able to start playing again, being in contention with a chance to win.”
Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes