DUBLIN, Ohio – The last time Tiger Woods played a tournament round at Shinnecock Hills, site of the U.S. Open in two weeks, was 14 years ago when he tied for 17th following a closing-round 76.
It’s that lack of familiarity that at least partially motivated Woods, who also played Shinnecock in 1995 as a 19-year-old amateur, to spend two days this week at the course preparing for the year’s second major.
“Unfortunately it rained the day before I got there and the golf course played really long,” Woods said on Wednesday at the Memorial. “I'm sure it probably won't play as long as we played it, 7,500 yards, par 70 is a long golf course.”
Much has changed at the New York gem since the 2004 U.S. Open, most notably how long the layout plays. At the ’95 championship, the layout played to 6,944 yards and a par of 70, and it was slightly stretched to 6,996 yards in ’04. For this year’s U.S. Open, the course will remain a par 70, but play to 7,445 yards.
“They've made some pretty significant changes since the last time that I had seen it,” he said. “I believe there's over 500 trees that are gone since last time I played it. They added 500 yards to it. So it's quite significant.”
Woods spent Monday and Tuesday practicing at Shinnecock Hills before flying to the Memorial, which will be his last start before the U.S. Open.