ARDMORE, Pa. -- Tiger Woods held his mandatory news conference Tuesday at noon, said his mandatory stuff and now we are ready to play the U.S. Open.
The event begins Thursday. It will be played at historic Merion Golf Club, a place that will test the willpower, shot-making and souls of all, including the spectators who will have to navigate through the rough and mud.
Woods was asked about the history here, about how, or if, he hopes to fit into that legacy.
Among other things, there are plaques commemorating Bobby Jones' final victory in his sweep of the grand slam of golf in 1930, with his U.S. Amateur title. There is also a plaque commemorating Ben Hogan's 1-iron shot to the green on No. 18, a par-four that will play as long as 521 yards. That shot got him into a playoff that he won in 1950.
Woods' responded to a question of whether he had a copy of the famous photo of that shot.
"No, I don't, "he said. "Remember, that was to get into a playoff. It's a great photo, but it would have only been an all-right photo if he hadn't won."
He shook hands with Sergio Garcia on the driving range Monday, and they exchanged a few sentences. That, of course, had editors of tabloid newspapers sending reporters sprinting to get the scoop.
"No, he didn't apologize," Woods said Tuesday, in a gathering attended breathlessly by several hundred. "We haven't had time for that."
In summation, he said he had a good week of practice after a bad tournament the previous week. He said he was working on establishing his "finish lines" for his shots here.
He said the greens were slower than expected because of the rains dousing this place, and he said he didn't think any of the players had a feel yet for whether this was going to be a make-par-to-win event or a 15-under-does-it.
Then he left, and the hordes dashed to their keyboards.
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