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Winged Foot in top three hardest – Woods

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods won the US Open in 2000, 2002 and 2008

Tiger Woods ranks Winged Foot as one of the three hardest courses in the world as he prepares for this week’s US Open.

The championship is making a fifth visit to the New York course, only once has the winning score been under par.

“It’s up there next to Oakmont and Carnoustie as far as sheer difficulty without doing anything to it,” said Woods, a three-time US Open champion.

Woods missed his first cut in a major as a professional when Winged Foot last staged the US Open in 2006.

It came a month after the death of his father, Earl, and while he refused to use that as an excuse 14 years ago, he conceded on Tuesday that he had not been fully prepared.

“When I didn’t win the Masters that year, that was really tough to take because that was the last event my dad was ever going to watch me play,” said the 44-year-old.

“He passed not too long after that and, quite frankly, when I got ready for this event, I didn’t really put in the time. I didn’t really put in the practice, and consequently missed the cut pretty easily.”

Woods finished on 12 over after his two rounds in 2006. Australian Geoff Ogilvy eventually won the tournament on five over.

“The winning scores have never been low. I don’t see that changing this week,” he said.

“The golf course is going to be hard. It depends on how difficult they want to set up these pins, give us a chance at it. But with the forecast, it’s going to be difficult no matter what.”

Woods will be joined by fellow Americans Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa on the first two days in New York.

Morikawa was only nine in 2006 but arrives at the Mamaroneck venue as a major champion, having won the US PGA Championship last month.

“I think walking here as a major champion, you have a sense of knowing how to get things done,” said the 23-year-old.

“Yes, I’ve only done it once, but I’ve done it. You just want more. You get that little taste of what it’s like, and you know why guys mark in their calendars the major championships for the year.

“I’m not waking up every day realising, ‘yeah, I’m a major champion’. I’m realising we’re at the US Open, let’s go win another tournament.”

World number two Jon Rahm, who hopes to become the first Spanish winner of the major, has predicted another winning score over par if firm conditions prevail this week.

“I would say in the past maybe this type of golf wasn’t my bread and butter, but based on the two events I’ve won this year, I’m pretty much ready,” said Rahm, who won this year’s Memorial Tournament and BMW Championship.

“I’ve always thought US Open is the type of golf course I can win on. I know my game can win on any golf course, but when you’re playing good it becomes a mental challenge, so I welcome those.

“Plus, I’m not going to lie, there’s always something extra special to be possibly the first Spanish player to win a US Open. That would be amazing. So it’s a bit of an extra motivation there to play good this week and do what I have to do.”

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