Tiger Woods believes he’s “in good shape” to win his first Major championship since 2008, despite finishing outside the top 20 at the Memorial Tournament.
Woods gained 14 strokes on the field from tee to green – the best in the field – as he threatened to win his first PGA Tour title since 2013 and sixth at Muirfield Village.
However, seven missed putts from inside five feet (he missed nine all season in 2006) undid some beautiful approach play and left him languishing second from bottom in strokes-gained: putting. A final-round 72 left him on nine under par, six shots behind champion Bryson DeChambeau.
“This week I didn't really feel comfortable with my lines and my feel was a little bit off,” lamented the 42-year-old. “Consequently I missed a bunch of putts. But I hit it really good this week, so that's a positive going into Shinnecock, where ball striking is going to be a must. Overall, if I just keep building on this, with how I'm hitting it right now, I'm in good shape for two weeks from now.”
Woods, who tied for 23rd at Jack’s place, has not played at Shinnecock Hills since finishing in a tie for 17th on 10-over-par in the 2004 US Open. However, he’s expecting a much-changed setup next week as he bids to end the longest winless run of his career.
“Overall my game is where it needs to be heading into the U.S. Open and that's something that's very positive,” said Woods, whose 10-year exemption to play in the US Open expires this month.
“They have taken out over 500 trees since last time I played it and added about 500 yards to it, so it's a very different golf course. It's very open, wind blows a little bit more. I understand they're trying to give us an opportunity to run the ball up, have a lot of fall-offs, a lot of pitch and runs and 4-irons and spinners and all different shots around the greens. But if it's soft, it's a moot point. But if it's hard, then it becomes quite a test.”