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Despite conceding frustrations with his game, things might be looking up for Tiger Woods.

The 48-year-old, who had a share of the lead during the first round of the US Open (albeit for one hole), admitted he is “physically getting better”.

Woods is also in line for a special ‘lifetime exemption’ into the PGA Tour’s Signature Events, with a Policy Board vote set to take place next week.

But the American will be more pleased to know that he has backing on the golf course, as legendary caddie Billy Foster liked what he saw at Pinehurst on Thursday.

Matt Fitzpatrick’s caddie worked with Woods in 2005 at the Presidents Cup and had the best seat in the house to watch his opening round.

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Alongside Fitzpatrick, he was joined by Woods and Will Zalatoris to kick off the championship and wasted little time sharing a bold prediction after the round.

“Still another one in him (trophy emoji),” Foster wrote on Instagram. “Always a pleasure @tigerwoods.”

As always Woods reiterated his belief that he could win another of golf’s ‘Big Four’ and add a 16th stripe to his Sun Day Red logo.

“Yeah, I do,” he said, when asked on Tuesday if his body is in a winning shape. “I feel like I have the strength to be able to do it. It’s just a matter of doing it.

“This golf course is going to test every single aspect of your game, especially mentally, and just the mental discipline that it takes to play this particular golf course, it’s going to take a lot.”

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It comes after insisting at the PGA Championship that he is still capable of lifting silverware.

“I still feel that I can win golf tournaments,” Woods said at Valhalla. “I still feel I can hit the shots and still feel like I still have my hand around the greens, and I can putt. I just need to do it for all four days, not like I did at Augusta for only two.”

Woods wrapped up his return to the US Open with a round of 74 to sit just outside the cutline after day one. It’s the first time he’s teed it up in the USGA’s showpiece event since 2020.

Fitzpatrick finished one shot better off, with Zalatoris on +5.

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John Turnbull A graduate of the University of Stirling, John joined the bunkered team in 2023 as a Content Producer, with a responsibility for covering all breaking news, tour news, grassroots content and much more besides. A keen golfer, he plays the majority of his golf at Falkirk Golf Club. Top of his 'bucket list' is a round of Pebble Beach... ideally in the company of Gareth Bale.

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