Pebble Beach, California (June 19, 2010)–We avoided writing about Tiger Woods at the US Open until he did something on the course which was worth the time. Well, Saturday's third round turned into the Tiger Woods show, and the galleries were electrified by his back-nine 31, especially his second-shot bender into the par 5, 18th hole. He flared his shot out over the ocean to within about 20 feet of the hole for eagle, but settled for a birdie. The standing 'O' which ensued had a Torrey Pines feel, cerca 2008, the site of his last major victory.–By Brian Hurlburt, photos courtesy USGA.
"It's been a while," said Tiger following the round. "I hadn't played good enough for anyone to cheer for anything. So it was nice to actually put it together on the back nine and put myself right back in the Championship. And everyone was just so excited and fired up that it was just a great atmosphere for play in front of." Tiger now stands at 1-under par entering the final round, and with players still on the course on Saturday he was in third place all alone.
"It felt good to put it together," said Tiger. "As I said this week, it was a process. And I was building, and it was close. And today, you know, I hit shots the way I know I can hit shots. The putt on 17 was a joke. I'm just trying to get it close and walk out of there. And it happened to go in." Woods birdied his final three holes, including the ultra-quick, right-to-left breaker on the treacherous par 3, 17th hole. But, again, making putts at big moments is what Tiger does (did?), and Saturday at Pebble could be a signal that the old Tiger is ready to roll again.
Woods has very strong ties to the Las Vegas Golf Region, both good, and as we now know, not-so-good. Woods almost attended UNLV, choosing to play college golf at Stanford at the last minute, and also played in some junior events in Las Vegas. Woods won his first PGA Tour event at the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational, and for many years, he worked with Las Vegas resident Butcn, who operated the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Las Vegas' Rio Secco Golf Club. Both are open to the public and you can click the previous links for more information. And, of course, some of his nefarious activities allegedly took place in Las Vegas, but they seemingly took place across the globe.
The Las Vegas Golf Region is the home to many golf courses and tour pros who have strong ties to those Las Vegas golf courses. Among the pros with strong ties are Natalie Gulbis, Rickie Fowler, Scott Piercy, Charley Hoffman, and many others. Two of the cool Las Vegas golf courses are at Primm Valley Golf Club, the home of two Tom Fazio-designed Las Vegas golf courses. These courses are located about 35 minutesd from the Las Vegas Strip, and are true Fazio delights. Click now for the official website. More action and details to come on Sunday.