Tiger Woods will be back to his Masters-winning form as he seeks a 16th major title in the US Open.
That is the view of former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, who believes Woods has the ideal game to triumph at Pebble Beach, scene of his record 15-shot triumph in the same event in 2000.
Woods did not play competitively between his emotional victory at Augusta National and last month’s US PGA Championship at Bethpage, where he trailed playing partner and eventual winner Brooks Koepka by 17 shots as he missed the cut.
However, the 43-year-old returned to action with a top-10 finish in the Memorial Tournament earlier this month and is among the favourites to win a fourth US Open title and first since 2008.
“I think we’re going to see the Tiger Woods from the Masters for two reasons,” McGinley said. “Firstly, I think he’s got over the hangover of winning a major championship again.
“He didn’t play a lot of golf between that and the PGA. He was probably under-prepared, certainly he was competitively. I don’t know what he was doing in his personal practice.
“The big determining factor for me is that the golf course is really going to suit the style of play that he has at the moment.
“He is a ball control player who is able to shape it at will, both right to left and left to right. He is able to get his trajectories high and low, which is going to be important in the wind.
“And a lot of these greens at Pebble Beach are sloped from back to front and a lot of them are very small, so going in there and taking spin off shots – so you’re not back-spinning it down the green or hitting it through the wind and going over the back where you’re dead – is critical.
Tiger Woods’ 15-stroke win in the 2000 #USOpen at Pebble Beach is one of the most incredible performances in golf history. Download the USGA app for Apple TV or Roku to watch the complete final round.
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 8, 2019
“So I think it’s really going to suit the style of golf that Woods is playing at the moment, there’s not many better iron players in the game who are are good as Tiger right now.
“He showed a bit of form at The Memorial and I think he’s gearing up for a really strong performance at Pebble.”
Koepka is aiming to become just the second player ever to win the US Open three years running and has collected four major titles from his last eight starts, but McGinley feels his length off the tee will not be so important this week.
“No matter who you are, from the shortest hitter in the field to the biggest, they are all going to be playing same way this time,” Sky Sports Golf commentator McGinley added.
“There’s 10 holes at Pebble where every player in the field will be hitting wedge or nine iron or less into the green. This is not a big golf course, it’s just over 7,000 yards, which is short by modern standards.
“This is a very different test to what the guys faced at Bethpage a few weeks ago.”
:: Sky Sports Golf will show every men’s and women’s major, including the US Open, exclusively live in 2019.
- Press Association