Tiger Plays It Smart at the Open

by Jeff Skinner

Tiger Woods looked to be in control of all aspects of his game as he worked his way around a very difficult Lake Course at The Olympic Club during the first round of the 112th U.S. Open.  Woods played a very controlled, intelligent game.  In an effort to stay on these narrow, slanted fairways he hit only three drivers off the tee rather opting for long irons and three wood stingers.

Tiger looked like he was using his book from the 2006 Open Championship when he kept his driver in his bag and hit three woods and irons to win the Open at Royal Liverpool.  He stayed out of trouble most of the day today and hit 10 fairways and when he missed he usually was in the first cut of rough.

On a day that saw his partners, Mickelson and Watson struggle, Tiger was striping it where he wanted.  His opening 67 is his best first round at the Open since the 2002 Open at Bethpage where he won his second U.S. Open.

With his physical game hitting on all cylinders what was even more impressive was his mental game.  He looked as confident as ever striding around Olympic and didn’t let the poor play of his partners affect his game.

Woods is looking for his first major since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines and he is off to an excellent start.  He knows it’s early but was pleased with his day’s work, “But I’m really excited how I was able to execute my game plan all day today and pleased with a 1‑under par round.”

“Well, this golf course, it’s so demanding.  And if you’re off your game just a little bit, you’re going to pay the price.  And it’s hard to make pars.  Phil and Bubba were off just a little bit.  This is one of those Opens where it’s just really hard to make birdies.  This is not like I was last year.  This is a tough one.  This is tough to make birdies.  You’ve got to really grind, and for me I thought I hit the ball well today and I didn’t have a whole lot of putts from ten feet or 15 feet or in.  It’s just hard to get the ball close.”

“I know I can hit the ball this way and I know I have been hitting the golf ball this way.  And I was able to put it together in a Major championship.  I’m going to need it the next three days.  This golf course is only going to get faster.  We didn’t find any dots out there for tomorrow, so I don’t know where the pins will be.  We’ll make the adjustments to game plan tomorrow.”


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