Woods hopes greens at Shinnecock Hills can resurrect his putting
June 12, 2018
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
- Tiger Woods said he has been working hard on his putting. (Warren Little/Getty Images)
SOUTHHAMPTON, N.Y. – Tiger Woods hopes a return to the type of greens he grew up on can resurrect his putting and put him in contention for a fourth U.S. Open title.
On the 10-year anniversary since the last of his 14 major championship wins, Woods hoped the poa annua greens at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club would be the catalyst to finally have all aspects of his game clicking together.
In his last start at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide just a few weeks ago, Woods ranked first in several ball-striking categories at Muirfield Village including Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (+14.157); Strokes Gained: Approach the Green (+11.164) and Proximity (23 feet, 8 inches).
But he could only muster a tie for 23rd as his putting was abysmal.
Woods was second-to-last in Strokes Gained: Putting (-7.695) at the Memorial, missing seven putts inside 5 feet and 15 putts inside 10 feet.
“I worked on it pretty hard this past week. Just had to hit a lot of putts, just put in the legwork, and I was able to do that… my stroke feels good,” the 2000, 2002 and 2008 U.S. Open champion said.
“What I did at Memorial, I just didn't feel comfortable over it. I couldn't see my lines. And those greens were quick, and I just didn't feel comfortable and didn't hit many good putts. I hit a lot of bad ones.
“This is a different week, different setup, different grass. This is what I basically grew up on out there on the West Coast. Poa gets bumpy, and it requires a lot of patience. A lot of times you can hit great putts on poa, and it doesn't go in. The key is to hit putts solid and see what happens.”
Grading Woods’ comeback has been a tough assignment. A year ago there was a good chance he’d never play competitive golf again after four back surgeries, including a fusion.
So on that measure just teeing it up is a success.
But in his nine PGA TOUR starts this season he’s produced six top-25 finishes and two top-10s. On both the latter occasions he was in contention to win but didn’t close the deal.
By that measure, he has let a few chances slip.
“There's two ways of looking at that. I've given myself chances to win, which I didn't know if I was ever going to do again, and, also, then again, not happy with the fact that I didn't win because I loved how it felt being there,” Woods explained.
“I've had my opportunities. But also, I'm very thankful to have had those opportunities. I didn't know if I was going to have them again.
“Golf is always frustrating. There's always something that isn't quite right, and that's where we, as players, have to make adjustments.
“You've seen the tournaments I've played in this year. 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.”
Woods played in the 1995 and 2004 U.S. Open’s held at Shinnecock. He withdrew in the second round of 1995 as a 19-year-old amateur after injuring his wrist in the long rough and tied for 17th in 2004.