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Tiger Woods Says Winged Foot Among Most Difficult Golf Courses Ahead of US Open

Tiger Woods practices on the 12th tee before the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament at Winged Foot Golf Club, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Mamaroneck, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

John Minchillo/Associated Press

Don’t expect low scores this weekend at the U.S. Open, according to Tiger Woods.

The 14-time major champion said Tuesday that Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, ranks among the hardest U.S. Open courses he’s ever played. 

“I think it’s right up there next to Oakmont and I think Carnoustie as far as just sheer difficulty without even doing anything to it,” Woods told reporters. “I think those three golf courses, they can host major championships without ever doing anything to them. This one or Oakmont here is either one or two.”

Winged Foot last held the U.S. Open in 2006, when Geoff Ogilvy won the event at five over. That is tied for the worst score for a U.S. Open winner since 1974, when Hale Irwin finished seven over…at Winged Foot. While golfers fared better at the 1997 PGA Championship (Davis Love III, 11 under) and 1984 U.S. Open (Fuzzy Zoeller, four under), it’s clear the field stands a major test this week.

Woods missed the cut at the 2006 Open, his first missed cut in a major as a pro, and finished 29th at the 1997 PGA.

The course may play even more difficult than normal this week, given the recently wet conditions and lack of spectators on the grounds. Reigning U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland said he and his caddy couldn’t find balls in the rough when doing a practice round. 

Woodland, who won his title at Pebble Beach, told reporters:

“I was talking to USGA [officials]; I was glad they were bringing marshals out yesterday. There was talks of not having marshals the first couple practice rounds. The practice rounds would have been 10 hours out here trying to find golf balls.

“The fact that we have marshals is going to help. Usually, if you hit it outside the ropes too, you’re hitting it in the crowds and you got some trampled down lies. We don’t have the benefit of that this week. So you’re going to have to drive the golf ball in play.”