Will new, resurgent Tiger Woods show up at U.S. Open?
There will be many star golfers swinging irons at the Olympic Club starting Thursday, but for the next few days all eyes will be on Tiger Woods.
The burning question for many fans watching the action in San Francisco is which Tiger Woods will show up for the U.S. Open.
Will it be the resurgent Woods that stormed to a recent victory at the Memorial? Or will it be the injury-plagued, mediocre-putting Woods that has struggled to compete in recent years?
Some say Woods' triumphant win at Memorial on June 3, featuring a dazzling shot and his reminiscent fist pump, may foreshadow what will be seen in San Francisco.
"Tiger's performance at Memorial bodes well for him at the U.S. Open," said Peter Dixon, a golf correspondent for British newspaper The Times. "He seems to have got his swing under control and is now able to move the ball in both directions -- which will be needed at the Olympic Club."
The Tiger Woods' fall-from-grace story has been told and retold so many times that some have been looking for the once-dominant golfer to write a new chapter.
Woods looks like he is ready, according to some golf journalists.
"He has lost a lot of his aura, but some of it is coming back," Dixon said. "He is strutting around again and looks as if he believes he is the man to beat."
At one point in his career, Woods seemed a lock to smash Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major titles.
Although his last major win was at the 2008 U.S. Open, Woods says he considers this tournament a real challenge.
"This is the hardest test that we play every year. What makes it difficult is that we play different venues every year," the 14-time major champion told reporters.
Along with Woods, oddsmakers say that Luke Donald, Steve Stricker or Phil Mickelson, who holds the record for most second-place finishes at the Open, could take the championship.
Rory McIlroy, won the U.S. Open last year, but the young golfer has been plagued with his own slump recently, missing three straight cuts.
Woods will get a look at some of the tough competition starting Thursday as he is paired with Mickelson and fan favorite and Masters champion Bubba Watson.
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