Sign up for our daily newsletter

Latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion, plus unmissable deals for bunkered subscriptions, events, and our commercial partners.

It’s become something of an ongoing joke with Tiger Woods now. 

The 15-time major champion turns up at a tournament, he’s asked if he can win this week, and he says something along the lines of how he wouldn’t be there if he didn’t think he could.

Whether he’s in on the joke is another matter altogether, but it took 30 seconds of his pre-US Open press conference to attempt to ease concerns about his fitness saying he has “the strength to do it”.

“Now,” he added, “it’s just a matter of doing it.”

Woods’ major record since winning the Masters in 2019 makes for grim reading. As well as five missed cuts and two withdrawals, you can count on one hand the number of times he’s played all four rounds – and three of those came at the Masters.

Now at Pinehurst for the first time since 2005 – he missed out here ten years ago when Martin Kaymer romped away with it – Woods revealed that he has been concentrating on getting himself ready to play 72 holes in a major – something he’s only done twice in four years.

“This golf course is going to test every single aspect of your game,” he explained. “Especially the mental discipline it takes to play this particular golf course. It’s going to take a lot, and we’ve been working on that and making sure that I understand the game plan and be ready two more days.

“We’ve been working on fitness, this is always a part of it, and I did a little bit of work chipping and putting. But nothing can simulate what we have here this particular week, the amount of little shots, and the knobs and run-offs, and either using wedges or long irons or woods or the putter around the greens. That’s one of the reasons I came up here last Tuesday.”

• Opinion: Golf’s major season is over too soon. Here’s how to fix it…

• 7 burning questions ahead of the 2024 US Open

Coming into US Open week itself, Woods surprised everyone on Monday and Tuesday when he had his son Charlie alongside him as he played in a practice round with Max Homa and Min Woo Lee.

“It’s very special,” he said. “And to have the father son relationship that we have extended into this part of both of our lives. He’s playing a lot of junior golf, and I’m still playing out here.

“It’s neat for him to see the guys that he watches on TV and YouTube and TikTok, whatever the hell it is that they do. At home he’s with JT (Justin Thomas) and Rick (Rickie Fowler) a lot. But to see other guys hit the golf ball, it doesn’t really do it justice until you actually see it in person.

“He was very excited today to watch Max and Min Woo and watch them hit golf balls. They’ve talked to him quite a bit, especially Min Woo and him. I think they’re closer in age than I am to anybody else. It’s great for us to be able to share these moments together.”

But, Woods explained, this isn’t just about Charlie getting to pick the brains of the best in the world as he embarks on a career of his own, and it’s certainly more than just sentimental.

“I trust him with my swing and my game,” Woods said. “He’s seen it more than anybody else in the world. He’s seen me hit more golf balls than anyone.

“I tell him what to look for, especially with putting. He gave me a couple little side bits today, which was great, because I get so entrenched in hitting certain putts to certain pins, I tend to forget some of the things I’m working on.

“I just want to see the balls rolling. He reminds me every now and again, which is great. We have a great relationship and rapport like that, and it’s a wonderful experience for both of us.”

• John Rahm issues update on foot injury

• Rejuvinated Bryson DeChambeau reveals ‘ultimate goal’

Meanwhile, Woods provided something of update on the meeting between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in New York on Friday – though it was light in detail.

“It was productive,” he said. “Is there light at the end of tunnel? I think we’re closer to that point than we were pre-meeting.

“We discussed a lot of different endings and how we get there. I think that both sides felt very positive in that meeting.

“Both sides were looking at different ways to get to the end game. Both sides shared a deep passion for how we need to get there. And yes, there are going to be differences of opinion, but we all want the same thing.”

We’ve previewed the US Open on the latest episode of The bunkered Podcast. Make sure you’re subscribed!

author headshot

Alex Perry is the Associate Editor of bunkered. A journalist for more than 20 years, he has been a golf industry stalwart for the majority of his career and, in a five-year spell at ESPN, covered every sporting event you can think of. He completed his own Grand Slam at the 2023 Masters, having fallen in love with the sport at his hometown club of Okehampton and on the links of nearby Bude & North Cornwall.

Associate Editor

More Reads

Image Turnberry green

The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland

Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.

Find Courses