Woods Looks Good to Defend the US Open
The Open at Pebble Beach was a tournament in doubt for one day only. There wasn't much suspense after the opening round, when Woods had one-stroke lead over Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez and two over John Huston. Woods shot a 65 in the first round and he was never headed.
'From the first hole he started dominating, and he never let go,' said Ernie Els, who was 15 shots behind come Sunday night, in a tie for second place. Pebble Beach was set up at its most difficult, frustrating all who attended save Woods.
Woods either had the best round or equaled it in three of the four trips around the course. In the third round, when he had a triple-bogey seven at the third hole, his 71 equaled the best round of the day. By the end of the third round he had a 10-shot lead, leveling at 15 when it was over and a setting a record for the most dominating performance ever in a major, beating Old Tom Morris at the British Open in 1862. Old Tom had won that one by 13 strokes, which was the record before this one.
'If you look back at each and every round, I made important par putts,' he said. 'Those big par putts, you have to make them in the U.S. Open. If you miss a green, you're going to have the eight- or 10-footers or longer for par.'
Woods concluded the tournament by shooting a 32 for the final nine holes. But if anything sums up the week, it is a 15-footer for par he made at 16. He shook his fist dramatically at the ball, leaving absolutely nothing to chance at this demolition.
'Patience' was the key word for Woods. He had to have patience in order to overcome the brutality of cranky old Pebble, and the fact that he did it says much for a golfer who was still just 24 years old.
'The only thing that can stop Tiger from winning,' said Jesper Parnevik, 'is Tiger.'
He will be defending this year at a venerable old stop, Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla. Southern Hills was designed in 1935 by famed architect Perry Maxwell with slight modifications by Robert Trent Jones and George Fazio.
One thing is for certain about this tournament at this time of year at this location - it will be hot. Heat hasn't bothered Woods, who has won in hot weather and cool weather.
Southern Hills is particularly known for its extremely difficult 12th hole. The 12th is very long and a stream crossing in front of the green hides from the golfer hitting his second shot. It has stands of trees everywhere and contains Bermuda rough, which is always tough.
The course is known to be very demanding for the driver. As everyone knows, Tiger Woods is one of the best drivers the game has ever known. He has an excellent chance of repeating.
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