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Tiger Woods arrives Sunday at Pinehurst for U.S. Open preparation

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Has finished third and second in previous two showings at Pinehurst

    Written by Staff @PGATOUR

    One of the rare courses that Tiger Woods has yet to fully solve: Pinehurst No. 2.

    The 82-time PGA TOUR winner is on the ground in North Carolina, preparing for this coming week’s U.S. Open and aiming to fill one of the rare voids on his resume. Woods was seen Sunday in a black-and-white striped shirt and black pants, smiling as he set up shop on the Pinehurst practice range.

    Woods is a three-time U.S. Open champion – most recently in 2008 at Torrey Pines, defeating Rocco Mediate in a memorable 18-hole playoff – but he hadn’t qualified for this year’s event via the standard qualification criteria. Last month, Woods graciously accepted a special exemption into this year’s U.S. Open, a testament to his enduring significance in the game.

    “The U.S. Open, our national championship, is a truly special event for our game and one that has helped define my career,” said Woods in a USGA release last month. “I’m honored to receive this exemption and could not be more excited for the opportunity to compete in this year’s U.S. Open, especially at Pinehurst, a venue that means so much to the game.”

    Tiger Woods gets ready for U.S. Open on Sunday at Pinehurst

    Woods struggled at last month’s PGA Championship, missing the cut with rounds of 72-77, but his physical condition – which will always be a factor after various injuries and surgeries, including ankle surgery in April 2023 – didn’t appear to put his appearance at Pinehurst in jeopardy. He said after the PGA that he felt in better physical condition than the month prior (where he made the cut at the Masters with rounds of 73-72, but faded to 82-77 on the weekend). He also stressed the importance of playing more to knock off the inherent competitive rust – he has made just three TOUR starts this season, with the Masters and PGA preceded by a WD midway through the second round of The Genesis Invitational due to flu-like symptoms.

    Charlie and Tiger Woods at Pinehurst No. 2 ahead of the 2024 U.S. Open. (Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

    Charlie and Tiger Woods at Pinehurst No. 2 ahead of the 2024 U.S. Open. (Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

    “Hopefully everything will somehow come together in my practice sessions at home and be ready for Pinehurst,” Woods said at the PGA.

    The U.S. Open will mark his fourth start of 2024; he hasn’t made more than three TOUR starts in a season since 2020, and perhaps that rust will continue to fade. Woods will need a precise game at Pinehurst, with its dynamic shot values, turtleback greens and native areas expected to be more severe than at the most recent Pinehurst U.S. Open in 2014.

    Woods finished tied for third at the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, two back of winner Payne Stewart, and he finished solo second in 2005, two back of Michael Campbell. He didn’t compete in the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, as he was recovering from back surgery, meaning this will be his first competitive appearance at Pinehurst in 19 years. If he wasn’t quite at the height of his powers in 2005, he was pretty close, winning six times on TOUR that season including the Masters and The Open.

    He just hasn’t been quite able to get over the finish line at Pinehurst, which is regarded in some circles as the home of American golf. It’s one of the rare things missing from Woods’ acclaimed resume – and although a victory this week might be unlikely, he’ll give it his best shot.

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