Tiger Woods is quite familiar with the Olympic Club from his college days at Stanford and having played the 1998 U.S. Open at the venue. But even that prior experience couldn’t prepare him for everything during a practice round at the Lake Course on Tuesday in San Francisco.
“I kinda had forgotten how cold it can get here,” said Woods, noting it was 49 degrees in The City when he teed off, a stark contrast to when he’s practicing in “shorts and shirtless” in his backyard in Florida.
Woods took to Google+ and his website after his round at the Olympic Club for a video chat where a variety of individuals — ranging from NBC golf analyst Roger Maltbie to former Stanford triple jumper and Olympic hopeful Erica McClain to a sergeant with the Ohio National Guard — posed questions to golf’s most recognizable star.
It marked the second time this year Woods, who will play in the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, starting Thursday, took to social media in lieu of a formal pre-tournament news conference with media members.
“We want to make them feel like they’re part of the process as well,” Woods said of interacting with fans.
As for the Olympic Club, the 14-time major champion noted the course was quite different than how he remembered it, with the greens having been remade and a host of trees having been removed since his last visit.
And like many other observers, Woods isn’t expecting anything easy when the 156-player field tees it up in 2½ weeks.
“It’s going to be one heck of a test,” said Woods, who sat on a red couch with a U.S. Open banner hanging in the background throughout the 34-minute, 20-second video chat. “Over the years, not too many people have finished under par in this event. I think this is going to be another one of those championships.”
Much has been made of the challenging first six holes the Lake Course poses, and Woods didn’t do anything to dispel the hype.
“They are the toughest six holes to start out any championship that I’ve ever played,” he said. “There’s no break.”
Woods didn’t play in the U.S. Open in 2011 due to injury, but finished sixth or better in the event the four previous years. But his game has been erratic of late.
He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but has tied for 40th twice and missed the cut in his three tournaments since.
And while he continues to hone his swing with coach Sean Foley, he remains confident it will all come together.
“I haven’t played well in a couple weeks, but we know what it is,” Woods said. “It’s a matter of just getting the reps in and get the trust in. ... It’s just a matter of time.”
WHEN: June 14-17
WHERE: Olympic Club’s Lake Course
TV: NBC, ESPN
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Rory McIlroy