Can Tiger Tame No. 2’s Greens?

by | Jun 13, 2024 | Pro News

Tiger Woods is notorious for speaking but most often, not saying a lot. But when it came to describing Pinehurst 2 – site of this week’s U.S.  Open – the Striped One had plenty to say about Donald Ross’s masterpiece in the North Carolina sandhills.

A three-time U.S. Open Champion, Woods will begin his first round on Thursday at 7:29 am on the par-five, 10th hole, which is expected to play around 610 yards long. It’s a “gettable’’ birdie hole given the fact they its green isn’t a severe as other of Ross’s crowned greens.

Woods finished third (behind the late Payne Stewart and Phil Mickelson) in the 1999 U.S. Open on No. 2, and was runner-up to Michael Campbell in 2005. Each of those tournaments was bentgrass greens. This year, No. 2’s greens are Bermuda.

“Very different,’’ said Woods, who missed the 2014 U.S. Open on No. 2 due to a back injury. “It’s grainy. We had the grain on the greens during those Open Championships, and they were softer than they are now.

“Granted, I know the surrounds were burnt out in ’05, but No. 2’s greens were not like what they are right now. That’s very different.’’

Woods said he expects shot selections around the greens to be more plentiful this week.

“I’ve used long irons and woods around the greens, and I’ve seen a number of guys do the same thing. There’s a lot of different shot selections, and the grain is going to play a big part of it.

“The last few days playing practice rounds – I’m guilty as well as the rest of the guys I’ve played with – we’ve putted off a lot of greens. It depends how severe the USGA wants to make this and how close they want to get us up to those sides.

“But I foresee – just like in ’05 – watching some of the guys play ping-pong back and forth. It could happen.’’

Photo courtesy of Alan Darty


About the Author

<a href="" target="_self">Steve Pike</a>

Steve Pike

Steve “Spike” Pike is a lifelong journalist whose career covers Major League Baseball, the NFL, and college basketball. For the past 26 years, Spike has been one of the more respected voices in the golf and travel industries, working for such publications as Golfweek, Golf World, and Golf Digest for The New York Times Magazine Group. In 1998, Spike helped launch the website for the PGA of America. As a freelance travel and golf writer, Spike’s travels have taken him around the world. He has played golf from Pebble Beach to St. Andrews, walked the Great Wall of China, climbed an active volcano in the Canary Islands, been on safari in South Africa, and dived with sharks off Guadalupe, Baja California.