Tiger brings woes into US Open, Johnson seeks 2nd major crown - GulfToday

Tiger brings woes into US Open, Johnson seeks 2nd major crown


Dustin Johnson in action during the third round of the Tour Championship in Atlanta. File / Associated Press

Tiger Woods brings his sore back and struggling game into the 120th US Open hoping to catch fire at a major where he hasn’t managed a top-10 finish since 2010.

The 44-year-old reigning Masters champion comes into Winged Foot off a share of 51st two weeks ago in the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields on a set-up that played like a US Open with hard, fast greens and dense rough.

“The golf course was basically a US Open, with the rough being as high as it is and fairways a little bit narrow,” Woods said. “This was a great ramp-up for me for the US Open.”

The Open offers the most punitive punishments for errant shots in major golf and Woods has sprayed tee shots in recent weeks, his surgically repaired back nagging him at times.

“My back is what it is. It’s always going to ache and it’s always going to be stiff,” Woods said. “When you have a fusion, that’s just part of the deal. I’ll have my good days and bad days.”

The 15-time major winner, level with Sam Snead on a record 82 US PGA Tour titles, hasn’t cracked the top 35 in five starts since sharing ninth in January at Torrey Pines.

Meanwhile, world number one Dustin Johnson, having finally captured a long-sought US PGA Tour playoff crown, attempts to add to his major championship total at the 120th US Open.

The long-driving 36-year-old American star will be a heavy favorite when golf’s greatest players tee off in next Thursday’s opening round at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York.

“I’m definitely playing probably the best I’ve ever played. I really feel like everything is dialed in pretty well,” Johnson said. “I’ve just got a lot of confidence in every part of my game right now.”

Johnson, whose only major victory came at the 2016 US Open at Oakmont, settled for a second consecutive runner-up finish to compatriot Collin Morikawa at last month’s PGA Championship, his fifth second-place effort at a major and third in his past five major starts.

Meanwhile, four-time major winner Rory McIlroy carries a fresh perspective into next week’s US Open at Winged Foot, his first major golf championship as a father.

The 31-year-old from Northern Ireland and his wife Erica welcomed daughter Poppy on Aug.31 and McIlroy, after days without touching a club, shared eighth in the Tour Championship, his best finish since the US PGA Tour’s coronavirus shutdown.

Fourth-ranked McIlroy, who hasn’t won a major since the 2014 PGA Championship, will make his sixth attempt to complete a career Grand Slam by winning the Masters in November.

Agence France-Presse

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