Tiger Woods is back and he’s not taking any chances. As a veteran of US Opens played at Shinnecock Hills, Woods knows there’s going to be traffic coming in. Player, reporter, or spectator, it’s just a fact of life.
So Tiger’s solution is to just have his $20 million yacht drop anchor in nearby Sag Harbor.
“Yeah, staying on the dinghy helps,” Woods said as he addressed the media before the tournament starts this Thursday. “There are a few guys so far this week have said it’s taken them from the hotel 2 1/2 to 3 hours, and, you know, there’s a good chance that someone might miss their time. You get a little traffic, you get maybe a little fender bender, it’s not inconceivable someone could miss their time.”
Speaking of missed time, this week will be a return for Woods, who is playing the Open for the first time since 2015. He’s won this tournament nine times and his 2008 title is the last time he won a major, so it’s going to somewhat of a homecoming.
“I’ve missed playing the U.S. Open,” he said. “It’s our nation’s title. It’s meant so much to me and my career and, obviously, the USGA, what it has done for golf. This was, you know, the biggest event you could win growing up, win a USGA event. To have won it nine times is pretty special. So I’m looking forward to playing this week. I’ve really missed playing U.S. Opens, and this will be another fun test.”
Woods will be trying to the one final major, while rival golfer Phil Mickelson is looking for the win to get the career slam, something Tiger knows very well and respects.
“Phil’s won umpteen tournaments all around the world, and he’s finished second in this event six times,” Woods said. “I mean, that’s — of all the events, you would think that this would be the one that he would have, you know, the least chance to win because of the way he’s driven it for most of his career.
“But that short game of his is off the charts. And, you know, a U.S. Open is about wedging it. It really is. I mean, you can spray it a little bit here and there, but you’ve got to be able to get it up and down from 100 yards. We’re all going to face it. And he’s been one of the best of all time at doing that, and so he’s given himself — he’s made some of the more difficult pars that you have to make to win this Championship.”
It’s going to be an uphill road for Woods, since he has had a string of bad luck the last few months and seemed pretty frustrated.
“You’ve seen the tournaments I’ve played in this year,” Woods said. “There’s always something. Hopefully, this is one of those weeks where I put it all together and even it out, and we’ll see what happens.”
And if it doesn’t work out, there’s always Sag Harbor.
“Sag Harbor is a cute little town,” he said. “I’ve only been there for a few days now. I haven’t really got a chance to walk about a little bit, but certainly will this week. And it’s been — so far, it’s been nice to kind of get away from the tournament scene and go there to Karen, my dinghy there, and just really enjoy it.”
Hopefully he will enjoy Shinnecock this week just as much.