The former number one will compete from this Thursday on the Winged Foot field with the best on the planet.
The US Golf Open will kick off this Thursday at the Winged Foot course in New York, with three names promising to steal the limelight: Dustin Johnson, world number one; Jon Rahm, Who is chasing his first trophy in this category; and the legend Tiger Woods, who returns to a cursed court in his award-winning career.
He Tiger wants to add his 16th Major in one of the toughest and most complicated venues in the history of this tournament, the only one in which he failed to pass the qualifying cut in a “big” tournament during the decade in which he dominated the circuit.
Since he achieved his first victory in a Major At the 1997 Augusta Masters until he was 14th at the 2008 US Open, Woods played 46 consecutive “majors.” The only time he failed to make it to the weekend was at the US tournament in 2006, precisely on the New York court that will host him again in 2020.
Although that was a very special edition for Tiger, who did score 76-shot cards, six over par, in each of the first two rounds and missed the cut. Because it was played a few months after the death of his father Earl, who had passed away on May 3 after a long battle with prostate cancer.
“I was not prepared to play this week. I had not practiced, I had not done much to prepare. I tried to come and play,” he said. Although he did not excuse himself then: “I am very frustrated. I do not care what happened in my life recently, a bad performance never feels good.”
His colleagues, however, realized how much his father’s death had affected him, with whom he had a great relationship and who had brought him closer to the sport in which he made history.
“It was obvious that from the first hit in the tee that Tiger wasn’t here. He seemed empty and played without intensity, as if he was not even trying, “New Zealander Michael Campbell, who was defending the title, said at the time.
Starting this Thursday, Woods will try to leave that damn edition behind and indulge himself in playing the weekend at one of the toughest and most complicated venues, as he himself acknowledged a few days ago.
“This court is going to be tough. It will depend on where they put the flags and if they give us a chance. But it is going to be difficult in any case. ”
Woods, 44, won his 15th last year Major in Augusta and will go from this Thursday for one more, to get closer to the historical record of 18 held by his compatriot Jack Nicklaus.
To do this, he will have to find a way to navigate the narrow fairways and tall grass of the New York countryside, but also hope that his rivals, especially Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm, don’t put out a better performance than him.
“I’m definitely playing probably at my best level”, said in the previous of the contest Johnson, 36 years old.
Winner of the US Open at Oakmont in 2016, the number one will need every facet of his game to shine on one of the most challenging courses in the world. Although nobody seems more prepared than him to do it.
In last month’s PGA Championship, he narrowly finished second to Collin Morikawa. Soon after, he nearly swept the US PGA playoff events. He won the Northern Trust, fell to Rahm in the BMW Championship playoff, and then was crowned at the Tour Championship to win the FedEx Cup and a prize of $ 15 million.
“It was very satisfying,” the South Carolina player recalled of his playoff victory. “I feel like I played pretty solid all week. It was something I wanted to achieve during my career,” he added.
Rahm, for his part, faces the US Open determined to break two barriers: to be the first Spaniard to conquer it and to lift the first tournament Major of his brilliant career.