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FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Tiger Woods is defending his title at the U.S. Open and his turf at Bethpage Black. Twenty years have passed since Curtis Strange became the last player to win back-to-back in the U.S. Open, the longest current drought among the four majors. Woods will have a chance for the third time this decade.
Two holes, two towering shots, two clutch birdies. Just like that, Tiger Woods broke out of a four-way tie and won the Memorial at Dublin, Ohio, on Sunday with a 7-under 65 to cap off a high-charged comeback. And just as suddenly, he silenced the skeptics who wondered if he was ready to defend his title in the U.S. Open in two weeks at Bethpage Black.
Tiger Woods had not felt such an adrenaline rush in nine months, especially when he stood over a 12-foot birdie putt Sunday at Bay Hill in Orlando, Fla., with only enough sunlight remaining for one last shot. It made Woods forget that it had been nine months since he played under so much pressure.
Geoff Ogilvy has been better than anyone in match play over the past four years. One of these days, he might find out if that includes Tiger Woods.
One day after a ceremonious return to golf, Tiger Woods was on his way home. Tim Clark of South Africa played 16 holes without a bogey and pulled ahead for good on the back nine Thursday, knocking Woods out of the Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Ariz., with a 4-and-2 victory.
MARANA, Ariz. – Tiger Woods had seven minutes to kill, which for a player who plans his routine to the very second, might have been unsettling. Eight months away had taught him something about patience, though, and he peeled a banana and calmly munched it as he waited for his turn on the first tee. There were a few butterflies, but only because there always are. The day they go away, Woods says, is probably the day he will finally quit.
SAN DIEGO – For the first time in six years, the Buick Invitational has the prime spot on the West Coast schedule. It’s the week after the Super Bowl, a quiet time in the world of sports, before pitchers and catchers report, the green flag drops at Daytona, before March turns mad. This is the week for snowbound folks to change the channel to the PGA Tour and witness the spectacular combination of blue surf and green turf.
Tiger Woods’ anticipated return to the PGA Tour after a fourth surgery to his left knee is up in the air. But his colleagues are confident about one thing – the world’s No. 1 could come back even better. “He isn’t going to be worse,” said rising star Anthony Kim, who headlines the PGA Tour’s season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship this week in Hawaii with Camilo Villegas, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Adam Scott. “We all know it’s going to be a long year trying to beat him.”
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Tiger Woods posed next to the trophy on the 18th green, a familiar scene with a rare twist. It was Sunday, and his clothing did not include so much as a trace of red. Plus, he was wearing a jacket – black, not green.