WITH every day that passes and with every shot he plays, Tiger Woods appears to be looking more like his old brilliant self.
The world No1 might still be a little game shy ahead of the US Open, which starts today, but he remains very much the man to beat.
Who can forget 10 years ago when Tiger made the golfing world sit up and take notice when winning the US Open on this very course at Pebble Beach by a record 15 shots.
While that day will have little bearing on this events of this weekend, you can rest assured it will be firmly lodged in the back of Tiger’s mind as he goes in search of a fourth US?Open title and a 15th Major.
Since his much-publicised return, Tiger, bit by bit, is beginning to find his feet and
actually hit the ball pretty well at Muirfield Village last week.
Pebble Beach is one of the world’s finest courses. It can be ultra forgiving on a clear day, but can swallow you up if the elements are unkind. Tiger knows that as well as anyone, but will need to be on top of his game.
No Briton has won the US Open since Tony Jacklin 40 years ago – but with four Englishmen and an Irishman in the world’s top 10, this is our best chance yet. Lee Westwood, in particular, has a great chance to finally end his run of near misses and capture a first Major, especially after his win in the St Jude Classic last weekend.
Strangely enough, Lee would probably have stood a better chance here if he finished second in Memphis last week as winning back-to-back tournaments is never easy. But the world No3’s confidence will be sky high after that and he will be delighted with the way he is playing.
The bad news for Westwood, however, is that he has been drawn alongside Tiger for the opening two rounds, which is never the ideal draw for what he brings to the party.
But Westwood will be able to handle that, for sure, and along with the in-form Luke Donald, represents our best chance to end that 40-year wait.