Enjoying in one of many afternoon’s marquee teams, Woods, 42, will go off No. 1 tee with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas within the afternoon wave.
The 14-time main winner is 10 years on from his iconic victory at Torrey Pines and merely grateful to be the place he’s in the present day.
“I had no expectation or thought that I acutally might be right here once more,” he stated, reflecting on his well being 12 months in the past. “I had simply been given the OK to start out strolling once more. What was this June? I hadn’t been cleared to start out lifting (weights). It was about my commonplace of life, overlook golf. … To go from there to the place I’m now, I had no expectation.”
Underneath sunny skies and breezes anticipated to gust to 20 mph, Shinnecock was enjoying robust however honest, rewarding those that hit their spots, corresponding to early leaders Matt Kuchar and Ian Poulter, each in crimson numbers on the flip, and punishing those that did not, corresponding to a whole morning group to observe, Phil Mickelson (plus-5 early of their again 9), Jordan Spieth (plus-6) and Rory McIlroy (plus-10).
Woods is coming off a efficiency at Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Match through which a balky putter stored him from competing for a victory. That will not work on Shinnecock’s greens, softened by Wednesday’s rain however unpredictable as a result of they’re poa annua, which will likely be bumpy by the point Woods and his group make their means towards the tip of their spherical.
“Golf is at all times irritating. There’s at all times one thing that isn’t proper. That’s why we as gamers have to regulate,” he stated earlier than getting extra particular about his issues on the greens at Muirfield Village: “What I did at Memorial, I didn’t really feel snug over (putts), didn’t see my strains. … It is a dfferent week, completely different setup, completely different grass.”
Woods, Johnson and Thomas will reverse to the morning wave on Friday, with the group slated to go off No. 10 at eight:02 a.m. ET. Woods is hopeful that would be the second step towards maneuvering himself into rivalry at a significant.
The arduous half — notably at a significant “the place errors are magnified, as they need to be” — is getting previous no matter nerves are there. And in a second of candor earlier this week, Wooden stated he is not positive how he’ll react if finds himself dealing with that lengthy misplaced feeling of the stress late Sunday brings at a significant.
“That,” he stated with a skinny smile,”could be a pleasant downside to have.”