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Jun 13, 2024 1:37 pm

Tiger Woods struggles with irons in U.S. Open return

tiger woods

Tiger Woods birdied both par-5 holes on Thursday but finished at 4-over 74 in his opening round at the U.S. Open in Pinehurst, N.C.

Woods, 48, offset his birdies at Nos. 5 and 10 with six bogeys, including four on the front nine at Pinehurst No. 2.

“I didn’t hit my irons particularly well. Didn’t putt that great,” Woods said. “Drove it on the string all day. Unfortunately, I just didn’t capitalize on it.”

The 15-time major winner is making his first U.S. Open appearance since 2020. He won the U.S. Open in 2000, 2002 and 2008.

Woods started on the back nine and briefly shared the lead with an 11-foot birdie putt at the 10th hole. He saved par at Nos. 12 and 13 with putts from a similar distance before missing a birdie bid at the par-4 14th.

He missed the fairway at No. 16 and carded his first bogey after a dropped shot, then missed his second putt at the par-3 17th for another bogey.

After making the turn at 1-over 36, Woods three-putted for bogey at No. 1 and missed short par putts at Nos. 2 and 4.

“I think I three-putted, what, two or three times today?” Woods said. “If I clean that up, if I get a couple iron shots not as lose as I did, I’m right there at even par.”

Woods set up his birdie at No. 5 with a booming 4-iron from the center of the fairway, but he gave the shot back at No. 8 with his sixth bogey in an 11-hole stretch.

“This is a golf course that doesn’t give up a whole lot of birdies,” Woods said. “It gives up a lot of bogeys and higher.

“I thought I did the one thing I needed to do today, which is drive the ball well. I did that. I just didn’t capitalize on any of it.”

Woods, who teed off with Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick at 7:29 a.m. ET, hit a total of 10 greens in regulation.

Woods is playing an abbreviated schedule this year in an effort to avoid injuries. This is his first event since missing the cut at the PGA Championship four weeks ago.

“I’m physically getting better as the year has gone on,” he said. “I just haven’t been able to play as much because I don’t just don’t want to hurt myself pre (tournament), then I won’t be able to play in the major championships.”

–Field Level Media

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