UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – There was an unusual sight on the range late Wednesday afternoon at the U.S. Open: Tiger Woods, grinding.
With plenty of time to kill before his 5:28 p.m. ET tee time Thursday, Woods arrived to Chambers Bay late in the afternoon and practiced for more than two hours. He did not sign up for a nine-hole practice round.
Normally, Woods would be one of the first players to hit the course the day before a major – and one of the first to leave.
But these are different times for Woods, who struggled mightily with his game two weeks ago at the Memorial and is ranked No. 195 in the world.
Woods seemed to follow Rory McIlroy’s lead. On Tuesday, the world No. 1 went off at about 5:30 p.m. local time to experience the baked-out, links-style course at its firmest, fieriest and most difficult.
“I’m hoping I’m off pretty late on the weekend,” McIlroy said. “I want to see how the course plays at that point.”
Woods has one of the last tee times for the opening round.
“I think one of the more dramatic things I’ve noticed is how different it plays from morning to afternoon,” Woods said Tuesday. “It gets so much faster and drier. You just feel it as the day wears on how much this golf course can dry out, and it certainly will. The morning times versus afternoon times, it’s very different.”