Tiger Woods returns to Pinehurst for US Open

PINEHURST.- This is not the same Pinehurst No. 2 that Tiger Woods saw 19 years ago when he finished in second place in the US Openthe last time he set foot on this field.

He's not the same Tiger Woods either.

Woods had never gone so long without visiting the course of a major he had previously played in. He arrived last Tuesday for a first look and returned over the weekend to hit the course that underwent extensive restoration, first seen at the 2014 U.S. Open. The golfer missed that tournament while recovering from his first series of four back surgeries.

What hasn't changed is the nature of the US Open.

“This golf course will test every aspect of your game, especially mentally. Just the mental discipline it takes to play this particular field. “It will take a lot,” he said Tuesday after his third consecutive day playing nine holes.

This will be his first US Open since the event at Winged Foot in 2020.

He has practiced. But Woods doesn't play as much anymore, this because his 48-year-old body, battered by injuries — five back surgeries, four knee surgeries and all that before the car accident in Los Angeles in February 2021, which caused fractures on the right leg and ankle.

One before and one after:

This is only his tenth tournament since the accident and is the first time since 2020 that he has played three consecutive majors. So it's just a matter of having more repetitions, more competitions, but without having a body to support it.

What to expect this week?

“I feel like I have the strength to do it,” he admitted. “It's a matter of doing it.”

Woods spent Tuesday morning with Max Homa and Min Woo Lee, along with their 15-year-old son Charlie. More than a spectator, Woods assures that Charlie knows his game better than anyone and is an extra set of eyes.

“I trust him with my swing and my game. He is the person who has seen it the most in the world. He's the one who's seen me hit golf balls the most,” Woods said.