Tiger Woods has quite a history at Pinehurst Resort, where those folks along with the rest of the world wait and see whether he will be there in June.
Woods, recovering from a microdisectomy for a pinched nerve in his back, hopes to be back this summer. When or where that occurs remains unknown. Could it be in time for the U.S. Open, scheduled June 12-15 at Pinehurst No. 2? No official word from his camp, so stay tuned.
Don Padgett II, president of Pinehurst, tells GCM that the restored historic layout would offer intrigue for Woods, and any other golfer who hits into trouble, unlike any U.S. Open we have witnessed in recent memory. Since there is no rough anymore (turf was removed in the rough to uncover the natural sandy areas that were intended to be that way by architect Donald Ross), the main issue now for anybody who hits it offline could be hardpan lies, footprints, wiregrass and pine cones.
"Since the rough is gone, he (Woods) wouldn't have to take that big rip with a short iron," Padgett says. "When you play in an Open (Padgett played in three U.S. Opens in the 1970s), usually you gouge out your shots, try to get up and down. Here now, when you hit from off of the fairways, you have to wait to see what you will get. I think guys are going to have to be more creative."
Woods, seeking his 15th professional major championship, has performed admirably more than once at Pinehurst. In the previous two U.S. Opens there on No. 2 (1999 and 2005), he finished third and second, respectively. Long before that, Woods triumphed. In 1992, as a teen-ager, he captured the "Big I" Insurance Youth Golf Classic on Pinehurst No. 7. He did it in convincing fashion, running away with the title by 9 strokes.