If Tiger Woods is going to advance to the Tour Championship, he’ll need a high finish at a course he says more resembles a U.S. Open than a regular PGA Tour setup.
Depending on how those play around him, Woods, at No. 57 in the FedExCup standings, needs at least a solo sixth to have any chance of booking a return trip to East Lake, with a better likelihood of requiring a solo fourth or better. He hasn’t played the Tour Championship since he won there in 2018.
“I have to play well. I have to earn my way back to East Lake,” Woods said Wednesday at the BMW Championship. “I haven’t done so yet, and I need a big week this week in order to advance. If I don’t, then I go home. This is a big week for me. I’m looking forward to getting out there and playing and competing.”
Woods hasn’t been at Olympia Fields since the U.S. Open was held there in 2003. That week he shot 3 over and finished in a tie for 20th, 11 shots behind Jim Furyk. Woods said he could only remember “maybe a couple shots” from that U.S. Open, so he went on YouTube and re-learned the course. What he saw was a course and tournament setup that looks “completely different,” with more trees and tees that have been pushed back 50 yards in some spots.
Woods is coming off a tie for 58th last week at The Northern Trust, where he was 24 shots back of Dustin Johnson. Woods called that level of low scoring an “outlier, because of the weather,” and expects this week to better reflect a major.
“This golf course is set up more like a U.S. Open than it is a regular Tour event,” Woods said. “But this is the playoffs. It’s supposed to be hard. ... Pars will be at a premium, putting the ball in the fairway and trying to keep the ball in the correct spots. The greens are quick, hard and firm for now. The weather is supposed to be really hot the next three days and maybe breaking Friday night. But until then this is going to be a very difficult golf course.”
Woods will tee off at 1:14 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Bubba Watson and Carlos Ortiz.