Tiger Woods to flex Olympic Club muscle after Memorial victory
Tiger Woods did little to dull the hysteria surrounding his US Open chances following a spectacular victory at the Memorial, insisting he’s confident of carrying form into the second Major of 2012.
The American ace produced some of the magic of old - including a remarkable chip-in for birdie on the 16th - to match Jack Nicklaus’ 73 PGA Tour wins with a fifth triumph at Muirfield Village, his five-under 67 leaving him two-strokes clear of Rory Sabbatini and Andres Romero. But no sooner had he raised the trophy did Woods set sights on another Nicklaus milestone - his record 18 Majors, starting at Olympic Club next week.
“I’m excited because of the way I hit the golf ball this week,” the 14-time Major winner said of his chances heading into next week’s event in San Francisco. At Olympic we’re all going to have to hit the ball great there.
“You can look at the history of guys who were in contention or who ended up winning there, all were wonderful drivers of the golf ball and good, solid iron players. That’s what it’s going to take there at Olympic, more so than most US Open sites.”
Woods has had several false dawns since his private life unravelled in 2009. Indeed, you only have to look at the last three months to get a glimpse of his fluctuating form: a win at Bay Hill followed by the worst three-event run of his career at the Masters, Wells Fargo and Players Championship.
However, the 36-year-old, who began the final round four off the pace, wound back the clock on Sunday to charge home with three birdies in the last four holes in what was vintage Tiger.
“Boy, I hit it good today,” he said.
“I hit the ball just as good as I have in years. I never really missed a shot.” The defining shot came on the par-three 16th when Woods produced an astonishing flop shot from a difficult lie to hole out 50 feet from the cup.
Watching greenside, Nicklaus described it as “the most unbelievable, gutsy shot I have ever seen” and Woods, who climbed to No.4 in the rankings, added: “I knew if I hit it short it would have been down and left, if I hit it long it was in the water. The lie wasn’t all that great, I had to take a cut at it and it came out just perfect.”