International Field Readying for Open

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Tiger Woods makes his return to the PGA Tour in this weeks Memorial Tournament. It is his first Stateside event since the Masters, and his last before the U.S. Open.
 
Woods did play two weeks ago in the European Tours Deutsche Bank-SAP Open, where he tied for 29th.
 
I feel pretty good because I hit the ball really well in Germany. The greens over there werent like this. So Im pretty excited to be able to putt smooth greens again, Woods said Wednesday.
 
Pristine course conditions are just one of the amenities presented to players at Muirfield Village.
 
Everything about this event is second to none, said Irelands Padraig Harrington. Just everything, the clubhouse facilities, the welcome. There is nothing left to chance.
 
We are spoiled this week, thats basically it.
 
Harrington, who currently leads the European Tour's Order of Merit, is a part of a large international contingency this week.
 
Everyone is trying to get ready for the (U.S.) Open, explained Woods.
 
Harrington played two PGA Tour events prior to the Masters and will do the same before the seasons second major championship.
 
You need to come across a little bit early for a big event because there are a lot of distractions when you come over, said Europes top-ranked player at seventh in the Official World Golf Ranking.
 
Harrington said the distractions range from getting acquainted with players you havent seen in a couple of months to tinkering with equipment.
 
Its best to come a couple of weeks early to get that all out of the way, so when you turn up at the U.S. Open, you are ready to play that you dont need to change a thing, he said.
 
Getting used to faster greens is one of the keys for me coming over two weeks early, Harrington added. I think the greens here are 13 (on the stimpmeter). We get some events up to that (on the European Tour). But generally we would be somewhere around 11.
 
While Harrington and the rest of the 105 players in this weeks field are trying to stay focused on the task at hand, they definitely have one eye on the Open.
 
Woods got a chance to play Olympia Fields, which will host the 103rd U.S. Open in two weeks, Tuesday with Michael Jordan. By his caddies estimation, he shot 68 or 69 on the par-70 layout, located just outside of Chicago, Ill.
 
Its going to be a heck of a test. The opening holes youll see somebody go low early because the opening holes are short, but the closing holes are something else, Woods described.
 
The greens are obviously not up to speed yet, and I know the rough will probably grow another inch by the time we get there.
 
Woods, a two-time U.S. Open champion, is trying to put behind him a disappointing tie for 15th at the Masters. This will be only his seventh start on the PGA Tour this season. He captured the Buick Invitational in his 2003 debut and the Match Play Championship. He also won the Bay Hill Invitational for the fourth consecutive year.
 
Woods won the Memorial three straight years before finishing tied for 22nd last year.
 
Tiger is currently third on the money list behind Davis Love III and Masters champion Mike Weir, both of whom have three victories this year.
 
Davis and Weir have had great years, Woods said. I look at the fact that I have only played in six tournaments and I am up there. Thats the positive side. Now, the summer I can play more and see how I am after the end of the summer.
 
Woods didnt play in last weeks Bank of America Colonial, but he did watch Annika Sorenstam, with whom he shares his agent, on television.
 
I thought she played beautifully. I thought she drove the ball well and hit the ball well. I think she managed her game well. She just didn't make the putts, said Woods, who recommended Sorenstam play in three or four tour events.
 
I think she is proud of the way she handled everything. I think everyone else is, too. She competed and she did very well. As far as the business side of it, I think Colonial is very happy about their choice in exemptions, and I think that's what they try to do with all exemptions is try to make the field better. Ultimately it is a business out here. Every tournament, every sponsor, is trying to make money. I think they made a wise choice there because I think their return is going to be pretty good.
 
Related Links
  • PGA Tour Statistical Preview
  • Full coverage of the Memorial Tournament