Players weigh in on what it will take to win at Olympic

Tiger Woods told media members on Tuesday that the player who best manages his short game across the Olympic Club’s fast greens and angular fairways will be the one who raises the U.S. Open Trophy on Sunday.
“It’s going to be a wonderful test,” the 14-time major champion said following a practice round. “ … We’ve got work to do.”
Woods said the course is much different than the last time the tournament was played at the picturesque San Francisco club, which was already brimming with fans and media two days before the tournament’s start.
“My charts are outdated,” Woods said. “ … All the greens have obviously been redone since we were here in (1998). The new chipping areas are certainly different. Got to get used to some of those different shots.”
With its modifications, the par-70, 7,170-yard course will provide the ideal backdrop to what is widely considered the toughest major to win.
“You have to curve it more off the tees here than other golf course that we play,” Woods said. “Even to the greens, you’ve got right-to-left slopes of … fairways and greens, and you have to cut it, so you’re going against the grain. It’s the same thing on the flip side.
“That’s the neat thing about the golf course is it seems like the majority of the doglegs kind of run away from you,” he went on. “And it puts a premium on shaping the ball. But also it puts a big premium on game planning.”
Michael Allen, the elder statesman of the tournament at age 53, agreed with Woods’ assessment.
“When I play her normally, the fairways are soft, and even that short course plays pretty long,” he said. “Now, they get the fairways firm. Every fairway centers one direction or the other, and you have to shape the ball into that or it will run out.”
Bubba Watson came off as flummoxed when asked what kind of shots the course will favor.
“The par-3 13 … they shaved all the grass on the left side of the hole, so if you hit it – you could actually hit the ball on the green and end up in the hazard,” said the reigning Masters champion, who will tee off in a marquee threesome with Woods and Phil Mickelson at 7:33 a.m. Thursday (see below). “I don’t understand why they did that.
“Next hole … they moved the fairway over,” he added. “I hit it in the middle of the fairway but had to slice a 9-iron about 40 yards just to hit the green. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Defending Open champ Rory McIlroy plans to “attack the course.”
“I’m still going to hit driver,” he said. “Coming in with the mindset that I’m going to … play aggressively when I can. Obviously, you want to be smart, but you’ve got to take your chances around here.”
Woods, taking a page from Jack Nicklaus, the man he hopes to one day pass for the most major victories, was excited for the challenging week ahead.
“I’ve always preferred to it to be more difficult, there’s no doubt,” said Woods, who last won the Open in 2008. “And I’ve always preferred it to be fast. I just like a fast golf course, because then you have to shape shots. You have to think.”
Woods was a different golfer in the ’98 Open, when he tied for 18th at Olympic. His reaction to that though hasn’t changed.
“Frustrated, frustrated,” he said. “Just like you are at most U.S. Opens.”

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