U.S. Open: Tiger Woods Muses About Phil's Chances and Pebble Beach

Ron FurlongAnalyst IIJune 16, 2010

PEBBLE BEACH, CA - JUNE 16:  Tiger Woods hits a shot during a practice round prior to the start of the 110th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 16, 2010 in Pebble Beach, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

At his press conference on Tuesday at the U.S. Open Tiger Woods was upbeat and seemed pleased with his game.

"As far as my game, I'm very excited about how it's progressed," Woods said.  "Since before the Memorial, then obviously during the Memorial, and now here it's gotten better.  The more time I've been able to practice and play, it's starting to solidify and I’m actually really excited to tee it up on Thursday."

The U.S. Open is being played at Pebble Beach. Last time it was played here in 2000 Tiger won by an astounding 15 shots.

Here's a sampling of some of Woods' answers.

Tiger Talks U.S. Open:

Tiger was asked why the U.S. Open is the hardest tournament to win.

"Well, generally it's the highest rough we play all year; it's the narrowest fairways, the hardest greens, the trickiest pins. Other than that, yeah, it's pretty simple."

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He was also asked about the condition of the course.

"It's great to be back, I haven't been here in I believe about eight years now, so it's great to be back.  It's interesting to see the golf course, how much it has changed some of the redesigns that they have had. Different strategies, different shots, and obviously it's playing a lot firmer than it does here in February. So the greens are starting to get a little bit more springy, starting to come to life now, and it's only going to get, probably going to get, more springy as the days go on. 

"I think how it's been set up this year is much more different than what we played in 2000.  How Mike sets it up is very different than how Tom set it up.  And it's just, it's, you know, with the graduated rough system that they have implemented now, fairways are much wider, but then again they're a lot faster.  And the holes are much longer.  Where they could put length. 

"And even though it's the shortest U.S. Open we play, it's still, it's getting awfully quick out there.  Just in the last couple days.  And if they don't put any water on these things come Sunday it's going to be very interesting."

Tiger Talks Phil:  

Tiger was asked if Phil Mickelson could possibly use the fact that he's finished so close to winning a U.S. Open to his advantage this week.

"I think that just by finishing second five times it goes to show you that he understands how to play Opens.  He's knows this is the toughest event to win and he's been right there so many times.  It's just a matter of time before he gets it done.  But he understands how to put himself there and what it takes over the long haul to be in that position.  And that's not easy to do.  But he's done just a great job of it over the years."

Tiger Talks Normalcy:

Woods was asked if his routine and normalcy was better than when he played at Augusta in April.

" That's certainly getting better.  Getting back into the competitive atmosphere and preparation and that's something that I hadn't done for obviously a long period of time.  And now I've done that for about...since April, and that part has certainly become much more normal now.  And I'm starting to find out how much I can and can't push myself each and every day as far as practice.  I overdid it, overcooked it right before Augusta, trying to get ready.  And certainly I learned my lesson there."

Tiger Talks Jack and Arnie:

Tiger was asked about Johnny Miller's recent comments about how players tend to burn out as far as winning majors in their 30's.

" I think it's how much you've played has a lot to do with it.  I think Jack paced himself pretty good.  He didn't play a lot.  Arnold played a ton.  And he traveled all over the world.  Gary played a lot and he still is playing a lot.  Still traveling all over the world. 

"But I think its if you want to maintain a level for a long period of time, one, you've got to stay healthy and a lot of these guys started having injuries.  Jack had a bad hip.  So it is tough to play late with guys who are my age or and younger are working out, at a much earlier age and are much more fit and there's no reason why they can't play well into their late 40s or even into their 50s if they stay on a regimen.  A lot of these players of that generation started a little bit late on their fitness regime and kind of missed the boat on that.

"But if you look at some of the players who are a little bit older than me, like Kenny Perry or Vijay who have kept themselves fit, they're having great success late in their 40s."



Woods will tee it up Thursday in a grouping with Lee Westwood and Ernie Els.

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