Tiger Woods loves links courses.
He also loves winning championships.
So it would seem that Chambers Bay, one of the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic and favored golf courses, would present the perfect opportunity for the former three-time U.S. Open champion.
However, after struggling through swing changes, a recent publicized breakup and shooting a career-worst 85 in the third round at The Memorial two weeks ago, Woods enters the week as any other competitor instead of the U.S. Open power force he once was.
“Whether you get shelled or not, you’ve got to stay out there,” said Woods in his pre-tourney presser. “And it’s hard. But that’s the nature of our sport. There’s nobody to pull you up.
Chambers Bay will prove to be a difficult test. The untraditional links course plays up to 7,900 yards with drastic elevation and wind changes. Long-hitting and creative players hold a definite advantage.
“You’re going to get some funky bounces out there,” said Woods. “The ball is going to roll and catch slopes. You’re going to see guys hit terrible golf shots that end up in kicking range from the hole.”
Jason Day, Woods’ practice round partner, also has some advice for him. Hit the fairway. “If he could get on the fairway, he’d probably be back to where he was. His iron play is just ridiculous how good it is right now. The driver and the 3-wood — the 3-wood is okay, the driver is little — gets a little wide sometimes.”
“Tiger has climbed Mt. Everest and he’s fallen off it a couple of times and climbed back up there again. Once people understand how hard it is to climb Mt. Everest, it’s hard to do it again. So it’s pretty admiring to see what he’s done to get back there a couple of times. If he could straighten out that driver, he’d play phenomenal golf, because his iron play and putting is on point.”
We’ll see if Woods takes Day’s advice and makes the comeback we’re all hoping for.